Longtime teammates Dom Collier, Tory Stewart-Miller reunite on Team Colorado

TBT rookies hoping to play into new opportunities

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.

They were teammates well before they landed together in Boulder. Now former Colorado basketball players Dom Collier and Tory Miller-Stewart are hoping to use their first experience with Team Colorado to jump-start post-collegiate playing careers after suffering through injury frustrations.

Collier and Miller-Stewart are two of the fresh faces with Team Colorado, the group of CU basketball alums that once again will compete in the winner-take-all $2 million The Basketball Tournament beginning Friday against a group of Kansas State alums in a first-round match in Wichita (7 p.m. MT, ESPN3).

The 6-foot-9 Miller-Stewart, who is from Kansas City, and Collier, the Denver native who starred at East High School, were AAU teammates before they suited up for the Buffs. This week the duo is working out together once again at the CU Events Center, and the recent trials each player has faced makes it feel as if much more than 16 months have passed since their CU careers ended.

“It’s awesome. Playing with Dom, we’ve played together since we were like 15,” Miller-Stewart said. “It’s like puzzle pieces how we go. Every time, it’s just the same thing. We don’t have to worry about getting to know each other’s game. It’s just fluid. It’s great. To be around some of my best friends again, I love it.”

Miller-Stewart’s senior season at CU in 2017-18 was cut short after six games due to a broken foot that required season-ending surgery. He received a redshirt and opted to join former CU assistant coach Rodney Billups at the University of Denver as a graduate transfer, but Miller-Stewart re-broke the foot after averaging 8.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in 14 games with the Pioneers.

This time, Miller-Stewart underwent a minor surgical procedure to remove loose bone fragments from his ailing foot. He has been cleared to participate fully with Team Colorado, and after playing just 20 games over two injury-marred seasons in recent years, Miller-Stewart hopes a solid run in The Basketball Tournament might open doors for a playing career overseas.

If not, Miller-Stewart is proud to note is he just a few credits short of earning his second degree in five years of school.

“It’s been a rough two years, but I’m solid and ready to go,” Miller-Stewart said. “You do all that rehab, you do all that work, and you just now feel like you’re getting to a point where you’re getting back to yourself. It’s disappointing, but I was able to focus on my Master’s. I can’t be mad at that.

“Exposure I guess is the biggest thing I’m lacking right now. Getting out in front of people and showing people I can still play is big.”

In Collier’s case, the former Buffs point guard actually did start a pro career overseas, signing last summer with FC Schalke 04 in the German Pro A league. But Collier suffered a broken nose early in the preseason, and the setback made him feel as if he already had fallen out of favor within the organization.

Collier returned to Denver, frequently watching his former team at the Events Center last season. Yet playing professionally remains the goal for the Denver native, and like Miller-Stewart, Collier hopes a strong showing with Team Colorado leads to new opportunities.

“There’s a whole bunch of older guys here, and I want to learn from them before I continue on in my career,” Collier said. “I’m looking to go back overseas this upcoming year after the TBT. I just want to try to learn from the guys so that when I go back over, wherever I go, I’m in the best situation.”

Team Colorado's Tory Miller-Stewart shoots during ...
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.