Washington Huskies senior guard Matisse Thybulle has been named to Naismith Defensive Player of the Year list of players to watch this season.
The Naismith Player Of The Year award has been given out at the end of Division I basketball since 1969, when the inaugural award was given to Lew Alcindor at UCLA. Last season, the Atlanta Tipoff Club added a Defensive Player Of The Year award, with West Virginia center Jevon Carter earning the title.
The Atlanta Tipoff Club announced it’s initial fifteen players to watch on Tuesday morning. Thybulle is one of two players from the Pac-12 named to the watchlist. He is joined by Oregon State’s forward Kylor Kelley. Kelley is currently averaging an NCAA high 3.9 blocks per game. The two players are currently far and away favorites for the Pac-12 Defensive Player Of The Year Award.
Since conference play has opened, Thybulle has averaged 3.2 blocks and 2.0 steals in five games. Thanks to a five block performance against the Cal Golden Bears on Saturday, he’s up nearly an entire block per game from his season average of 2.3, while being slightly down from his 2.7 steals per game.
Thybulle is continuing to make a name for himself on the defensive end of Division I college hoops. Having won last year’s Pac-12 Defensive Player Of The Year, he began the season by being named to the Jerry West Award watchlist, an award given to the best shooting guard for the year in NCAA basketball. The award was created alongside the Julius Erving Award, Karl Malone Award, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar award, given out to the best small forward, power forward, and center, respectively. In the four years since it’s inaugural season, the Jerry West Award has never been awarded to a player in the Pac-12.