Earlier this week, three Washington Huskies were honored by the PAC12 with coach Mike Hopkins winning the John Wooden Coach of the Year award; Matisse Thybulle winning the PAC12 Defensive Player of the Year, and Jaylen Nowell winning the PAC12 Player of the Year award. The hat trick is a 1st for UW and a 1st for any PAC12 team. Add in a regular season championship and these are a crowning achievement in Mike Hopkins short career.
Coach Hopkins actually won the Wooden award last year making this twice in a row for the 2nd year coach. Coach Hop is the 1st PAC12 coach to win the award in each of his 1st two years and the 4th in PAC12 history as a repeat winner. Coach Hop led UW to a 15-3 in conference record and 24-7 overall record and what is pretty much a guaranteed NCAA Tournament selection.
Matisse Thybulle is closing in on Gary Payton’s PAC12 all time steals record. The 6-5 senior led the NCAA with 110 steals equaling Jason Kidd’s single season PAC12 record. Thybulle also ranked #2 in the PAC12 in blocked shots with 72 giving him the honor of being the only collegiate player in the last 25 years to record 110 steals and 70 blocked shots. He is also the only NCAA player to rank in the top 20 in steals (1st) and blocks (18th).
Jaylen Nowell was the only UW signee in Coach Hop’s 1st year and became just the 3rd UW player to earn the PAC12 POY award joining Brandon Roy and Chris Welp. The guard has been the team’s offensive heart and soul with 16.3 points, 3.1 assists, and 5.4 rebounds per game. He also shot better than 50% from the field and 40% from 3 point land. Nowell’s efficiency across the stat line compares with Brandon Roy and James Harden and thus easily distinguishing himself for this year’s POY.