To be sure, the Washington Huskies men’s basketball season didn’t end the way the members of its program would have liked, with their regular season concluding with a Saturday night home court loss to the Oregon Ducks on senior night. Any lingering bad taste from that experience was happily washed away this evening when Jaylen Nowell, Matisse Thybulle, and Mike Hopkins were named the Pac-12’s player of the year, defensive player of the year, and coach of the year, respectively. In so doing, the Huskies became the first program in conference history to sweep the trio of prestigious honors.
A former four-star, top-100 recruit, Jaylen Nowell made the most of his sophomore season by averaging 16.3 points, 3.1 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game. His .504 field goal percentage ranks third in the conference, and he was honored three times this season as the Pac-12’s player of the week. He becomes the first Husky to win the award since Brandon Roy claimed the honor in 2006.
Meanwhile, Matisse Thybulle became the conference’s defensive player of the year for the second year running, joining Gary Payton II as the only repeat winners of the award. He did so by being an absolute terror to opposing offenses, collecting 110 steals and 72 blocked shots; the steals figure represents the best mark in the nation, outpacing the second-place finisher, Isaiah Miller of UNC-Greensboro, by 12.
Likewise, Mike Hopkins became a repeat winner in his own right, collecting his second consecutive Pac-12 coach of the year award on the strength of him turning Washington back into a Pac-12 power. The year before Hopkins’ arrival, the Dawgs capped Lorenzo Romar’s final season with a 9-22 record and an 11th-place finish in 2017; since then, Hopkins has led the team to 45 wins against 20 losses, including a 25-11 mark in conference play.