Nate Tomlinson juggling duties with CU Buffs, Team Colorado

Buffs alumni team begins prep for 2019 TBT without Carlon Brown

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado coach Nate Tomlinson, right, talks with Chris Copeland, left, and other players during basketball practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    University of Colorado head coach Tad Boyle talks to Team Colorado during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Marcus Hall shoots during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado coach Nate Tomlinson talks to players during basketball practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Calvin Williams dunks during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Colorado coach Nate Tomlinson began its annual training camp Monday in preparation for the 2019 edition of The Basketball Tournament, the $2 million, winner-take-all competition the CU alums nearly won three years ago.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Shannon Sharpe looks to pass during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Marcus Relphorde looks to shoot during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Xavier Silas shoots during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Tory Miller-Stewart dunks the ball during basketball practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Dominique Collier drives up the court during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Marcus Relphorde looks to shoot during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Richard Roby shoots during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Dominique Coleman looks to pass during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Calvin Williams dunks during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Tory Miller-Stewart shoots during basketball practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Chris Copeland shoots during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Xavier Silas during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado coach Nate Tomlinson talks to players during basketball practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Shannon Sharpe looks to pass during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Dominique Collier talks to teammates during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado coach Nate Tomlinson talks to players during basketball practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Chris Copeland shoots during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Richard Roby shoots during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado coach Nate Tomlinson talks to players during basketball practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Xavier Johnson grabs the pass during basketball practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Marcus Hall shoots during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Xavier Johnson shoots during basketball practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Tory Miller-Stewart dunks the ball during basketball practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Dominique Coleman looks to pass during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

  • Matthew Jonas/Staff Photographer

    Team Colorado's Richard Roby looks to pass during practice at the CU Events Center in Boulder on July 22, 2019.

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Nate Tomlinson credits much of the success he enjoyed at the end of his Colorado basketball career to his ability to take advantage of the timing of the opportunities at hand.

The same can be said of his fledgling coaching career with the Buffaloes.

Recently christened as CU’s new director of player development under head coach Tad Boyle, Tomlinson currently is balancing his new role alongside another new opportunity as the coach of Team Colorado. The Buffaloes alumni team began its annual training camp Monday in preparation for the 2019 edition of The Basketball Tournament, the $2 million, winner-take-all competition the CU alums nearly won three years ago.

Tomlinson takes over for Dwight Thorne, the former Buffs player who currently serves in a similar role as Tomlinson at the University of Denver. It was been a quick ascension for Tomlinson, a 2012 graduate who returned to Boulder last fall to begin his coaching career as a volunteer assistant on Boyle’s staff.

“It’s funny. Timing is everything in life, and this just kind of happened this way,” said Tomlinson, the point guard of the 2012 Pac-12 Conference tournament championship team. “I always wanted to be a head coach and be back around this team. I had some other opportunities out there that I was looking at. But this thing kind of came in at the last minute, and obviously it was a no-brainer for me. Tad was pretty excited to keep me here and we came to terms pretty easily.”

For his debut as the leader of Team Colorado, Tomlinson already is dealing with an unexpected roster development. As the former Buffs went through their first workout Monday morning ahead of Friday’s TBT opener against a team of Kansas State alums in Wichita (7 p.m. MT, ESPN3), they did so without Carlon Brown. A former teammate of Tomlinson who was the MVP of the 2012 Pac-12 tourney, Brown was expected to add scoring punch to Team Colorado after retiring from his overseas playing career last winter.

Brown was forced to bow out due to what Tomlinson described as a personal matter. At the 11th hour the club added Team Colorado veteran Calvin Williams.

“The challenge here obviously is time. We don’t have a whole lot of it,” Tomlinson said. “But the thing we do have is some pretty good basketball players that have played professionally and have played overseas for a long, long time. Not a lot of teaching involved, which as a coach makes it a lot easier. Just trying to put guys in their best positions for them to be successful and help one another.”

Tomlinson is juggling his duties with Team Colorado with his new responsibilities on Boyle’s staff, a role Tomlinson was promoted to after Sean Kearney left the spot to take an associate director position with the Atlantic 10 Conference. His professional playing career in his native Australia prevented Tomlinson from competing with Team Colorado in previous summers, but he was in the stands in 2016 when a number of his former teammates nearly missed the jackpot payoff in a heartbreaking loss in TBT’s title game. Tomlinson is confident the former Buffs have a similar run in them over the next few weeks.

“Many of Nate’s duties are administrative. This time of year — and not to say they’re not important, they are — but he’s a talented enough guy to do both,” Boyle said. “My biggest concern with Nate doing this is just to make sure we’re doing it by the rules.”