NEW ALBANY — Wise people have said that college is an excellent place to develop the positive habits that you’ll carry with you through life.
At Indiana University Southeast, Nick Tinsley has a predisposition to be a quality teammate and work hard. And he definitely didn’t pick up the bad habit of quitting. It wouldn’t have been hard to understand if he had. Through four surgeries on one knee, the former Silver Creek point guard was robbed of some of the quickness that made him a tough point guard.
He’s evolved into a scrappy, undersized forward for the NAIA Division II’s No. 22-ranked team.
“I’m the guy that does what’s needed, whether that’s get a bucket here or there, rebound, get on the floor, draw charges, stuff like that. I’m kinda the garbage guy,” Tinsley said last week.
The 6-foot-1 senior who has his bachelor’s degree and is working on two master’s degrees finds himself giving up six or seven inches in height at the defensive end many nights as the Grenadiers take a speed-focused approach to the game.
“They’re heavier, taller than me. We throw out some defensive schemes, some traps to help us out,” Tinsley said.
Tinsley’s diligence in the weight room has helped him get by. Coach Wiley Brown gives more credit to the mentality he takes.
“Nick is mentally tough. Whether he plays the 1 through 5, he’s going to give it all he’s got,” Brown said. “I have a son who’s a junior in high school and when he gets Nick’s age, I hope he’ll be exactly like him.”
“He’s not only getting his studies, but he also brings it on the court. Every single play, he’s going to give it everything he’s got. He’s not afraid to stick his nose in whatever situation it is. He’s not griping about playing that spot. He has a good attitude every single day in practice. He’s a great young man.”
Tinsley earned an extra year of eligibility when he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) the first time and plans to play one more season while he continues to work on his Master’s in Business Administration and a Master’s of Science in Strategic Finance.
“He could have said I don’t want to play this game,” Brown said. “He wanted to play basketball. He’s played when he was hurt the whole year. Had the second surgery after the year was over with. I know his limitations. His lateral movement’s not what it was prior to surgery. He’s a joy to coach.”
Tinsley ranks fifth on the IUS team in scoring at 8.9 points and chips in 3.9 rebounds for a squad that’s 12-7 overall and 5-3 in the River States Conference.
“Nick is not focused on scoring. He can score the ball. He’s going to score when the opportunity brings it. He’s mostly focused on the little things. Getting 50/50 balls. He’s going to outwork anybody he guards,” Brown said.
As it looks to regain some momentum, IU Southeast is back in action today against Carlow University. The Grenadiers are just a 1/2 game out of second place in the RSC West Division.
“One of our goals is to win the conference tournament and go to the national tournament,” Tinsley said. “We’ve had a couple tough conference losses. We’re looking to bounce back from those.”
Brown, who has led IU Southeast to seven national tournament appearances during his 10 years, said his team hasn’t been at its best of late.
“We’ve got to get back into the basics. We’re going to get back to the little things it takes to be successful,” Brown said.