Charles Hinkle adapts as American’s shooting star

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Charles Hinkle’s emergence as American’s most potent offensive force germinated in offseason workouts and especially during the Eagles’ summer trip to Europe.

There was only one problem — and an unusual one — for coach Jeff Jones.

“I’d yell at him ‘Shoot the damn ball. Quit trying to make plays and just shoot it,’ ” Jones said. “Some guys would go an entire career and not have a coach tell them that.”

Hinkle, though, isn’t familiar with serving as a primary scorer. Far from it.

Not in high school. Not in his one year at a prep school. Not at Vanderbilt, where he played two seasons before transferring.

And not a year ago, when he played behind Vlad Moldoveanu and averaged 4.5 points and 13.1 minutes.

It would seem, though, the senior is making up for it this season.

Hinkle is one of two Division I players in the D.C. area averaging 20 points, along with Maryland’s Terrell Stoglin, and leads the Patriot League in scoring (20.6 points per game).

“I never really averaged this many points in my life,” Hinkle said. “It’s something that’s kind of amazing, but I try not to think about that.”

Instead, he’s trying to nudge the Eagles (9-6) into Patriot League contention over the next two months, starting with Saturday’s visit by Colgate (5-8).

Hinkle considered American when initially choosing a school but opted for the appeal of playing in a major conference at a well-regarded school. Eventually, though, the absence of playing time became a concern.

There was just one variable Hinkle had to massage: selling a transfer to his mother, who did not finish college and wanted her son to graduate.

“That was the hardest thing to explain to her: I wanted to play basketball and I’ll still get my degree, but I just want to have an opportunity to play somewhere else,” Hinkle said.

Hinkle sagely sold it as a chance to attend a well-regarded business school and received his mother’s blessing. The Eagles are equally grateful for her OK with Hinkle’s scorching two months, but it didn’t take long for them to realize how good the transfer could be.

“I’m not surprised in the least,” junior guard Daniel Munoz said. “As soon as he came here from Vandy my freshman year, you could tell he had a shot. He could score off the dribble, he could shoot and he was a pretty smart player.”

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