Matisse Thybulle: Background

Background bullet points:

  • Hometown: Sammamish, WA

    • JUST LIKE: Clint Eastwood (actor/director), Kim Schrier (U.S. Congresswoman)

  • High School: Eastside Catholic

    • JUST LIKE: Matt Boyd (MLB), Cal Towey (MLB), Hunter Bryant (football)

  • Land Down Under

    • When Thybulle was two years old his family moved to Sydney, Australia. He lived there for seven years before they moved to Washington state

    • The biggest difference, according to Thybulle, was Santa Claus. Because Australia is in the southern hemisphere Christmas occurs in the summer, and therefore Santa there dresses up in swimming trunks and carries a surfboard. Moving back to America and seeing Santa Claus in his winter coat threw young Matisse for a loop.

  • Defense Wins Championships

    • Growing up in Australia, Matisse did not touch a basketball. Instead he was a swimmer, something he still enjoys.

    • He struggled when he first began playing basketball, but it was immediately clear he had defensive instincts

    • His father Greg, never a basketball player himself, told him the following: “There will always be someone who will shoot the ball better than you, but there will never be a better defender than you.” He adds Matisse is “making defense sexy again.”

  • Husky commit

    • Thybulle chose Washington over offers from Cal, Oregon and Gonzaga. He had a previous relationship with then-coach Lorenzo Romar

    • When former Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins took over he convinced Thybulle to stay, declaring that Thybulle would be a monster in his zone defense. Coach Hopkins appears to have been correct.

  • Conference of Champions

    • Thybulle was named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2018 after his junior season and again in 2019 after his senior season.

    • That makes him just the second repeat winner, along with Gary Payton II in 2015 and ‘16.

    • Other past winners include Gary Payton (‘87), Russell Westbrook (‘08), Taj Gibson (‘09), Andre Roberson (‘13), and Jordan Bell (‘17)

  • Stock Market

    • Thybulle’s most marketable attribute are his sky-high steal and block totals.

    • In 2019 Thybulle led the league in steals with 125 and ranked 15th nationally with 79 blocks

      • The next highest block total for a guard was Jacksonville’s Jalyn Hinton with 56

    • No player in college basketball, going back to at least 1995-96, has matched his combination of steal and block totals. In fact no player has even hit 100 steals and 60 blocks. Thybulle racks up stocks like no other player in decades.

    • On a per-game basis, only two players in the last 20 years have averaged  two steals and two blocks per-game: Shane Battier (Duke) and Nerlens Noel (Kentucky).

  • Stealing Records

    • To continue the defensive stat praises, Thybulle ends his college career as the greatest ball-thief in Pac-12 history. He broke Jason Kidd’s single-season record for steals, topping Kidd’s 110 as a freshman in 1993. Thybulle also holds third place with 101 steals in 2018.

    • Thybulle is the Pac-12 record holder in career steals as well, passing Gary Payton this season

  • Block Party

    • Defense! Defense! Thybulle’s bio is basically just going nuts on his defensive box score stats. He is the first guard in Pac-12 history (dating back to 1992-93) to tally at least 70 blocks in a season.

    • Expanding the search, Thybulle is one of just four guards to hit the 7-block threshold, although he is the shortest of the four at 6’5”

      • Dominic McGuire tops the list with 114 blocks in 2006-07, although the junior guard playing for Fresno State is 6’9”