Washington Basketball Matisse Thybulle defends the court

SPOKANE, WA - DECEMBER 07: Bryan Alberts
SPOKANE, WA - DECEMBER 07: Bryan Alberts /

Washington Basketball will need offense to win games this year. But defense will be even more critical. Thankfully, Matisse Thybulle excels at both

When the Washington Basketball team steps onto the basketball court, the amount of knowledge about this team will be nearly zero. There are hopes, projections, expectations and even some analysis which may alleviate the worst symptoms of anxiety. But in the end, there are few things we truly know about this team.

But we do know some things about the players. We know that shooting guard David Crisp can light up the scoreboard when he gets hot.   We know that forward Noah Dickerson will deliver plenty of rebounds off the boards for the Washington Basketball team.  And we know that Matisse Thybulle will excel at both offense and defense for this team.

Defense? Yes, defense.

Defense starts with Thybulle

The 2016-2017 Washington Basketball team was not coached to be a defensive team.  But that didn’t stop Matisse Thybulle from shining on defense.  He led the Huskies is steals per game with 2.1, and was tied for third in blocks per game with 0.7. He was even sixth on the team in rebounds with 3.1 per game.

On one hand, he had a defensive mindset.  On the other hand, he understood the roles and responsibilities of himself and his teammates on each play.  Finally, he can talk defensive strategy. He has it all.

Meanwhile, the team focused on offense. Things will change this year. You see, head coach Mike Hopkins likes defense.  Suddenly, the team and the player align.  That has to mean something special, doesn’t it?

Let’s investigate.

2-3 defense stronger with two-way players

Thybulle is a special type of player. He has the versatility to offer Coach Hopkins a two-way players. And that is a special advantage in the 2-3 zone the team will likely gravitate towards this season.

The 2-3 defense relies on to top defenders (guards), two players a step outside of the block (forwards) and a player at the middle of the key – near and in front of the basket (center).  Defenders defend areas, and not man-on-man defense. This reinforces defending any offensive attempt to enter the paint, while placing more demands on the defenders to guard the perimeter against that three-point shot.

Roll the film

This is video analyzing Syracuse University 2-3 defense. As you see, defenders rotate based on where the basketball is.   So why does this favor Thybulle?

On one hand, Matisse Thybulle has very fast and active hands. As such, he will create plenty of havoc in passing lanes.  And as he loads up on steals, that creates fast breaks which will  mean even better scoring opportunities for the Huskies. If he puts it all together this year, there will be plenty of NBA interest in the young man.

On the other hand, Matisse Thybulle can score as well. With more team focus on defense, he can commit to taking more shots this year. And with team rebounds increasing as a result of better positioning for the rebound, the team will have more scoring opportunities.

Next: Noah Dickerson fills Washington Basketball Team big body board-banger role

The Washington Basketball team may be an enigma this year, but there is still one certainty. Matisse Thybulle will play both sides of the court ferociously.  He love to defend.  And that is why his decision to remain a key player for this team is so huge.