Last year was supposed to be the final run together for the core group from Team Colorado, the Buffaloes’ alumni basketball team that annually takes aim at the $2 million jackpot in The Basketball Tournament.
But after an unexpectedly early exit from last year’s tourney, these former Buffaloes decided they didn’t want to go out that way. Earlier this week, Team Colorado announced its preliminary roster for this year’s competition. And while a number of familiar faces remain, the club boasts a new general manager (Josh Repine), a new head coach (Nate Tomlinson), and a fresh approach in hopes of recapturing the magic that led the former Buffs to the cusp of winning the robust winner-take-all payoff as the tournament runner-up in 2016.
Repine is a former CU walk-on who graduated in 2018 but remains a graduate assistant within the athletic department as he begins classes at the Leeds School of Business. He served as a sort of unofficial intern with Team Colorado last year under former GM (and fellow former CU walk-on) Beau Gamble, but this year Repine has assumed the bulk of the administrative duties.
“After how things kind of ended last year, these guys really wanted to come back and make one more run,” Repine said. “So we’re kind of in the transition period. We lost some great guys, like Austin Dufault, but that’s kind of our transition into the younger (roster). This is the one more year before they hand the baton off or pass the torch.”
Among TBT veterans on this summer’s Team Colorado roster are Marcus Hall, Xavier Silas, Chris Copeland, Richard Roby, Dominique Coleman, Marcus Relphorde and Shannon Sharpe. Xavier Talton, a 2016 CU hoops alum, returns for his second season of TBT action alongside one prominent newcomer, Carlon Brown. Brown, the MVP of the 2012 Pac-12 Conference Tournament won by the Buffs, retired from his overseas playing career this past winter.
On the sideline, Tomlinson takes over for Dwight Thorne, the former Buffs player whose duties recently shifted on the staff of former CU assistant Rodney Billups at Denver, moving from the director of basketball operations to the director of player development. Tomlinson spent this past season as a volunteer assistant on coach Tad Boyle’s staff at CU.
“I think Dwight thought he maybe didn’t have the time this year,” Repine said. “But at the same time, I think we were really excited to get Nate in there. He’s in the building. He’s a Buff through and through. Not saying that Dwight isn’t, but I think Nate really wanted to take a stab at this. And sometimes getting a new face in there isn’t always the worst thing.”
There still will be additions to the roster, with Repine stating there remains a need still for a big man along with another set or two of younger legs. Discussions have been ongoing with former Buffs Askia Booker and Xavier Johnson about joining Team Colorado.
The team again will hold a three-day mini-camp at CU, but this season will offer a tweak. In years past, the team has conducted its training camp only to return to their respective homes before reconvening in whatever city was hosting their first game. This year, the mini-camp will run July 22-24 with the Buffs immediately traveling together for their first game against Purple and Black (Kansas State alums) on July 26 in Wichita.
“We want when they come to CU to be fully locked-in,” Repine said. “We’re kind of buying into this that once you come to CU, you’re really buying into winning this tournament. Our hope is keeping the guys together will build up a little more chemistry.”
Also this year, Team Colorado will be shifting 20 percent of its donations to Buffs4Life, the organization dedicated to helping to provide mental health services for past and present CU student-athletes.