The season has been up and down so far for the Grizzly basketball team, and just last week, they lost their first home conference game in three year. A lot of their success moving forward will hinge on their play in the interior.
In college men's basketball, it's rare that a coach is taller than the majority of their team…but for Wayne Tinkle, that's exactly the case. The Griz head man is 6'10, meaning only one player, sophomore Andy Martin is taller than their coach.
"He knows what he's talking about, so he can definitely help us improve in every aspect, and I think he knows we can do better as big guys, and he expects that now, and it's understandable," says Griz senior center Eric Hutchison
For the tallest player on the team, Martin takes more of ribbing from teammates, because they say they want him to reach his potential.
"Some guys are trying to expand on their leadership roles, and we're trying to help them do that, but really the players need to play, the coaches need to coach, and I think the more we can do that with Andy the more success he'll see," explains Tinkle.
But for however much ribbing or yelling goes on, it doesn't seem to phase Martin very much.
"I think I can have a thick skin because I came from a military school where I spent a lot of time getting yelled at, just hearing what I need to work on so I think I can deal with it fairly well," says Martin.
Coach Tinkle will be the first to admit he sees the post position a little differently than many college coaches, "I don't know that I'm more critical, or that it was my position and I know how valuable it is so it can be more frustrating for me at times. I was not the most athletic guy, and rebounding is really an effort deal, so that's what we've been challenging our guys. They can handle it, I'm not overly too hard on them,"
The young Martin also agrees on the importance of quality post-play for the Griz, "I think every position definitely has it's importance, but the post, you're always either trying to get in front of your guy and be strong to get the ball, or be a distraction or setting a pick to get another guy open, you're always doing something important on offense."