Nate Tomlinson, former Colorado Buffaloes point guard, has retired from professional basketball at the age of 28. He announced last week that he would be leaving Melbourne United of the National Basketball League (Australia) to pursue a career in coaching.
Tomlinson is one of the most lovely people we’ve ever cheered for in Boulder. The Melbourne native was a four-time letterman and three-time starter for the Colorado Buffaloes. He was a crucial component of the team that transitioned from the mediocrity of Jeff Bdzelik to the consistent contention of Tad Boyle. In his time at CU, he didn’t post gaudy stats — he averaged 4.6 points and 3.2 assists as a starter — but he was beloved for his defense and shooting, and also for looking cool as hell with his crazy hair and tattoos. If you recall, Tomlinson was the player who hit the game-winning free throw to beat Oregon in an insane 2012 game.
After graduating from CU in 2012, Tomlinson headed home to play for Melbourne United (then called the Melbourne Tigers). In 2014, Tomlinson was named co-captain and moved into the starting lineup to replace Jonny Flynn (!), where he soon led the NBL in assists and was named the league’s Most Improved Player. More importantly, Tomlinson was an essential piece on a team that had the best record in 2015-16.
Tomlinson’s playing days are behind him, but he’s still going to be in the game for a long time. He announced that he’s retiring from his playing career to join his father’s coaching staff at Shantou University in the Chinese province of Guangdong. With how great of a leader Tomlinson was at CU and that he co-captained Melbourne for two seasons, it’s fair to say he has potential as a coach.
Best of luck, Nate. Hopefully we’ll see you on Team Colorado next summer.