Thybulle Down to Four

A year ago people weren’t talking about Matisse Thybulle as being the best player on his high school team. That was probably Mandrell Worthy. But now the 6-foot-6 small forward from Eastside Catholic has parlayed a strong AAU season into some big west coast scholarships. spoke with Thybulle, who is about to embark on some official visits to finish off the recruiting process.

“I wasn’t sure if it would, but I knew I was capable of playing at the levels that I should of,” Thybulle said when asked if his move up recruiting lists and high-major college scholarship offers came as a surprise to him. “It’s not a surprise, but at the same time I was worried a little bit.”

Thybulle plays for a packed NWExpress team in the summer, and his AAU campaign has pushed his name into the national spotlight. “The people I got to play against, whether it be in the EYBL or the whole AAU season itself, it pushed me to be a better player,” he said. “I think overall I got a lot better and learned a lot from the AAU season. Vegas was probably, as a team and for me individually, the worst tournament playing-wise. That was frustrating. You would think by the end of the AAU season we would have all our stuff together and be able to play like a well-oiled machine. But that wasn’t the case. That was probably the most frustrating part of the AAU season.”

Injuries to some key players, like Rainier Beach’s Keith Smith, forced Thybulle into testing his limits as a player. “With the injuries, it put a lot of the scoring load on me and a couple other guys,” he said. “Usually I haven’t been looked at as a primary scorer. It brought some stuff out of me that I didn’t necessarily think I could do. I think I proved myself a little bit in terms of being a scorer and being able to take over a game. As much as it hurts for those guys to not be able to play with us, having to do it more on my own made me a lot better player.”

College coaches were happy to see Thybulle was more than just a freakish athlete with serious bounce. “They were just excited,” he said. “It was another aspect to my game that I showcased. It made me that more valuable to them. I think this high school season I’m going to be looked at as more of a scorer, so I think it will be a part of my game you’ll see pick up, and you’ll see a difference.”

Apparently Thybulle is also not done growing. “I haven’t measured myself, but that’s what people keep telling me,” he said of a summer growth spurt. “People keep looking at me and saying I look taller.”

Washington, Gonzaga, California, and Oregon are the programs Thybulle has his eyes on, and he’s getting to the point in the recruiting process where decisions need to be made. “I basically have it narrowed it down, so unless something really big comes around, I’ve got my main four,” he said.

What does Thybulle like about Oregon? “I don’t know too much about Cal or Oregon. So that’s why I’m going on these visits to them, to check it out and see if that’s something I want to pursue,” he said. “I’m excited to see Oregon and what they have to offer. I’ve heard about their facilities, I’ve never really seen them. I think they had a pretty good season last year.”

And Gonzaga? “Gonzaga and U-Dub have been recruiting me for the longest out of those four,” Thybulle said. “I went to my team camp at Gonzaga, and I got to see the campus, talk to the coaches. I’ve been able to build a really good relationship with them. What they have going on there with their program and how much they win and how they’ll go to the NCAA Tournament almost every year - things like that are really appealing. Who doesn’t want to play in the biggest tournament in the country for college basketball?”

How about the hometown Huskies? “I like (Lorenzo) Romar,” said Thybulle. “We have a really good relationship with him. If it goes the way he’s telling me - he’s saying there’s four guards and one big and I went there I think me and Baby Boy (Dejounte Murray) and David Crisp could do something really special in turning this program around.”

Getting to the recruiting finish line can be a stressful time, especially for parents. “I can tell it stresses them out a little bit, especially when we’ve been trying to finalize the dates for my visits and getting my transcripts sent off to all the colleges and everything,” said Thybulle. “But I think they are happy because that’s more money they get to keep in their pocket and that goes to my sister’s college tuition. I think for the most part they’re proud of me and what I’ve been able to accomplish and they are trying to help me in whatever way they can.”

Thybulle will take an unofficial visit to Washington, and then start taking official visits the last weekend of August. He will take an official visit to Gonzaga in September, and then might do an official visit to Washington after that time.

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