HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Dennis Tinnon's individual goal was straightforward, if not simple: Lead NCAA Division I in rebounds.
It wasn't an outlandish notion twelve months ago, about the time he yanked down 19 of them against Alabama-Birmingham. That set a still-standing career high, topping the 15 set a month earlier in Syracuse.
Yes, Syracuse. And that game came after 14-rebound efforts against Ohio and Cincinnati, the latter prompting coach Mick Cronin to label his usually physical Bearcats a "pretty" team.
Right out of junior college, Tinnon was such a rebounding machine, opponents looked forward to seeing him in person, to watch how he operates. It's kind of like they knew he was going to get his 10-plus; they just wanted to stop him from getting 10 on the offensive end.
By any measure, the 6-foot-8 native of Green Bay, Wis., had an above-average year. He averaged 10.2 points, shot 55.4 percent from the field and 72.3 percent from the line. He ranked third in Conference USA in the art of rebounding, 22nd nationally.
Alas, he averaged 9.9714 rebounds per game, grabbing 349 in 35 contests -- one stinkin' board short of a double-double average.
But that's nitpicking. He has established himself by any measure, and when he won an NCAA appeal granting him another year of eligibility, opponents were put on notice to expect more rough nights on the boards.
On the other hand, those opponents aren't making life easy for Tinnon, who has yielded the power forward position to Elijah Pittman and taken on small-forward duties. Tinnon, who has taken 20 3-point shots vs. two for all of last season, has a longer trek to the rim at times.
And a lot more opposing bodies in the way.