S. ABINGTON TWP. — As a junior, George Tinsley helped the Abington Heights boys basketball team win the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class 5A championship.
Tinsley will look to take the Division 1 Binghamton University men’s basketball program to similar heights, beginning in the 2019-20 academic year, after committing to accept a full scholarship from the school Aug. 2.
“It was just really nice,” Tinsley said of the campus. “I visited there Aug. 1 and I fell in love with it. It was kind of a gut feeling. When I went there, I felt like this is where I can play basketball and spend the next four years of my life.”
The rising senior also feels comfortable about the coaching staff’s plan for him on the court. Listed at 6-foot-6, Tinsley is expected to contribute as a guard and forward for the Bearcats.
“They were telling me that they can see me working really well within their style of play,” he said. “They made it sound like I would be at home there.”
Tinsley is the fourth player from the Lackawanna League to join the program, which competes in the America East Conference, in recent years, joining former Abington Heights standout J.C. Show, Scranton Prep’s Timmy Rose and Dunmore’s John Rinaldi.
“When I went up there, I was able to talk to J.C. and Timmy, and they said they love it,” Tinsley said. “They said the coaches and people there are really great.”
The Clarks Summit resident credits lessons learned from the Abington Heights coaching staff for helping him develop into a Division 1 prospect.
“They’ve helped me so much,” Tinsley said. “They’re like my role models. They’ve taught me a lot — not just offense and defense — but also respect, energy, toughness … all of it.”
Abington Heights head coach Ken Bianchi feels Tinsley’s non-stop hustle and aggression attracted the attention of college coaches.
“His motor never stops and he never gives up on a play,” Bianchi said. “We could be down 20 or up 20 and he still gives 100 percent every possession. That, coupled with his talent … you have to give a second look.”
Tinsley scored the 1,000th point of his high school career during a 29-point performance in the state championship game.
“He doesn’t force things; he lets them come to him,” Bianchi said. “He had more opportunities to score this past year. He got bigger and stronger, and was able to put back a lot of second shots which upped his (shooting) percentage.”
Tinsley, 17, the son of Brian and Kellee Tinsley, also had offers from Albany, Colgate, Holy Cross and New Hampshire.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.