With five freshmen on its 2019-20 roster, the Binghamton men’s basketball team is one of the youngest in the America East conference. Among them, forward George Tinsley, a 6-foot-6-inch guard, is one of the team’s top recruits. Wearing number 20 on the court, Tinsley is expected to play significant minutes in his first season as a Bearcat.
While Tinsley is new to Division I basketball, he is no stranger to the Binghamton program. Prior to committing to BU, he played AAU basketball with the son of Binghamton head coach Tommy Dempsey.
“I’ve played with Coach [Dempsey]’s son during AAU, by my sophomore year, so I’ve known them for a while,” Tinsley said. “Then they offered me, and I came up and visited, and as soon as I visited, I just loved the place here. The campus was bigger than I thought; it kinda just had a home feeling.”
Tinsley came to Binghamton after graduating from Abington Heights High School in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. He joins a long list of notable Binghamton basketball players to come from the Scranton area, including former guards J.C. Show and Timmy Rose, ’19, who graduated last year. Show also attended Abington Heights prior to his standout career as a Bearcat.
Tinsley’s scholastic basketball accolades included leading the team to three Pennsylvania state final fours and a 104-13 record in four years on the team. He was named first-team all-state twice during his time there.
In addition to playing basketball, Tinsley was also a quarterback for Abington Heights’ football team while in high school, but preferred playing basketball and never seriously considered a college football career.
“Basketball was always my first love, and I kinda just stuck with that throughout high school,” Tinsley said.
Since arriving on campus for Binghamton’s summer training program, Tinsley, along with the rest of the team’s freshman class, had to adjust to the challenges of playing Division I basketball.
“[It’s] definitely a lot faster,” Tinsley said. “You gotta take care of your body. In high school, there’s just a slower speed to it. You don’t realize it until you’re up here cause up here you’ve got a shot clock, sometimes it’s even a longer court [than] some high school gyms.”
Tinsley mentioned his height and versatility as a strength of his game and discussed how he can improve his court vision and defensive speed.
“Strength and conditioning help everything, and throughout practice [I’m] kinda trying to work on my ball handling and IQ more than I would just dribbling and shooting all of the time,” Tinsley said. “I need to be able to help others make shots too.”
When asked which professional players he models his game after, Tinsley immediately discussed the reigning NBA MVP, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“I’d like to model my game after Giannis, but I’m not 6’11”, so it’s a lot different,” Tinsley said. “But he’s my favorite player right now because of the way he can dominate a game and just take over offensively and defensively.”
Tinsley is one of several young players who make up this year’s Binghamton roster. With one of the youngest teams in the conference, he knows that it will take hard work every day to move the team forward in its ultimate goal of winning a conference title.
“Obviously everyone wants to win that championship, but it has to start with practices every day,” Tinsley said. “For myself, I’d like to get stronger personally cause I know I’ll be playing guys a lot older than me and I gotta be ready for that physicality.”