For the past two and a half years Kevin Stallings looked at Charles Hinkle with the pride of a father. As a father, he also pointed to Hinkle as a positive example.
“I love Charles,” Vanderbilt’s basketball coach said. “I’ve held him and his attitude up to my son as one to emulate.”
Tuesday, Stallings did what all parents eventually must do. He let go.
On the eve of the Commodores’ first post-Christmas game, he announced that Hinkle, a resdshirt-sophomore, left the team and planned to transfer.
“He just wants to play more, and I understand that,” Stallings said. “He looks around and only one perimeter player leaves by the time he graduates. … I think he looked into the future and questioned and wondered whether things would improve for him from a playing time standpoint. He couldn’t be certain they would.”
Hinkle was not at practice Tuesday afternoon with Vanderbilt (8-3), which plays Manhattan (6-5) at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Memorial Gymnasium. Stallings said Hinkle indicated no immediate plans for his next stop.
A 6-foot-6 swingman, Hinkle played in 10 of Vanderbilt’s first 11 games this season but averaged 4.8 minutes per contest. That was down from the 8.4 minutes he averaged in 25 appearances (the Commodores played 31 games) in 2008-09.
He had just 14 points this season and was behind sophomores Brad Tinsley, Lance Goulbourne, Jeffery Taylor and Andre Walker as well as freshman John Jenkins when it came to playing time.
He came to Vanderbilt from Los Angeles where he was a two-time all-league performer at Los Alamitos High School.
His departure reduces to six the number of scholarship sophomores currently on the team.
“He’s a great kid and had a great attitude, great work ethic,” Stallings said. “There was absolutely nothing that we didn’t like and didn’t enjoy about Charles.
“I hope he leaves here with good feelings. We certainly have good feelings about him.”