Dom Collier hasn't added up the frequent flier miles that have accumulated in his honor. And he certainly hasn't kept a running tally of all the nights his parents have spent in unfamiliar hotel rooms since he graduated from Denver East High School.
Collier just knows that whenever he steps on to a court, anywhere, his parents will be there to support him. With few exceptions over the past four years that has been the case. And, barring a home date in the NIT that is growing more unlikely, Darryl and Lori Collier will watch their son play at the Coors Events Center for the final time Sunday in Colorado's regular-season home finale against UCLA (2 p.m., ESPNU).
"It means a lot for them to show their support and their love that they have for me. I really appreciate it," Collier said. "I'm just going to cherish every moment of practice and the last couple games that we have. It's just been a great experience playing here, playing with these guys. I just want to leave it out there the last couple games of the season, especially in this gym. I really appreciate it.
"(My parents) always been there for me and been really supportive. When they come out to games we get to hang out on road trips. I just like the support."
According to Lori Collier, she and her husband have missed only a small handful games during their son's career. While they have hit the game in Seattle against Washington the past two seasons, they have skipped the Pullman portion of the trip at Washington State. Also, like several other CU parents earlier this year, the Collier family had their trip booked for the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands in November. When last fall's hurricanes forced the tournament to relocate to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., the Colliers opted to stay home.
That's only five missed games in four years. And if nothing else, Collier has played in a lot of them. He has appeared in 117 games, tying Dwight Thorne and Antoine McGee at 19th-place among the program's all-time leaders. Expected to start on Senior Day — his first start since Dec. 15 — it will be 67th start of Collier's career, tying Alec Burks and Blair Wilson at No. 27 all-time.
Of course, since arriving at CU as a much-hyped recruit out of Denver East, Collier's parents have watched him endure plenty of ups and downs. In a mostly backup role as a freshman Collier shot just .269 (28-for-46) from 3-point range, yet as the team's primary point guard a year later he shot a stellar .444 on 3-pointers. However, despite being the regular starter on an NCAA Tournament team, he often struggled in his role as a floor general, posting an assist-to-turnover rate of only 1.32.
Last year Derrick White took over the point guard role, and Collier showed early signs of being a potential game-changing force off the bench as a 3-point threat, going 4-for-6 from long range in the opener. Soon, though, a foot injury sidelined Collier for nine games. And while he started through most of the Pac-12 Conference schedule, he never settled into a consistent role.
It has been more of the same this season for Collier, who has played the role of good soldier in a season that has seen coach Tad Boyle pin his hopes of the program's future on a crop of talented freshmen. Like previous years, Collier has balanced the sort of eye-catching performances that made him a coveted recruit (for instance, going 9-for-14 overall and 5-for-8 on 3-pointers with eight assists and one turnover in consecutive upset wins against nationally-ranked Arizona and Arizona State) with baffling struggles like the game he endured last week at Washington State (0-for-5 field goals, 4-for-9 free throws, five turnovers).
"He's embraced his role. I think he's really performed well in his role and he's helped this team win some games," Boyle said. "He certainly has had a good career since he's been here. I just want for Dom to finish on a high note. To finish strong and leave here with a good taste in his mouth. Because he's a terrific young man who I care a lot about. There's some players, you just want them to be successful. Dom is one of those guys as a coach, you want him to be successful.
"He's got a great family. He's a local kid who chose to stay home and play. That's something that's special."
Collier heads into his final home game ranked 23rd all-time in assists with 215, four behind Nick Mohr and 12 behind Spencer Dinwiddie. He also needs one steal to match Dinwiddie's career total of 97, which ranks 21st all-time at CU.