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Thybulle Prepares for Olympics, But Not for U.S. Team

The former University of Washington will use his dual citizenship to compete in the Tokyo games.

Matisse Thybulle is an accomplished basketball player claimed by many, with Seattle and Philadelphia jostling each other for a piece of him at the front of this line, and he's now busy preparing for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

But not how you might think — the NBA player will play for Australia.

While Thybulle was once college teammates with New Zealander Sam Timmons, he was born in Arizona, not Down Under.

He calls Seattle's Eastside suburbs home, not some Outback isolation community.

Yet Thybulle has this little known Aussie connection.

The former University of Washington defensive standout holds dual Australian and American citizenship, which he acquired after his family lived in Sydney for seven years when he was a young boy.

Learning about all of this, Australian national team officials extended an offer to Thybulle in February and he readily accepted.

He'll play on the world stage, likely against his home country at some point.

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Meantime, he's training in Los Angeles and Las Vegas with his new countrymen, who include fellow NBA veterans Patty Mills, Matthew Delavadova and Dante Exum.

It is presumed that Thybulle will become more of an offensive player during these Olympics, much like he was with the Huskies.

Followers of the Philadelphia 76ers, his pro basketball team, are eager to see him better resemble the player he once was in college, with the Olympics set to get under way on July 23.

Besides setting career (331) and season (126) school records for steals, Thybulle averaged 10.5 and 11.2 points per game as a UW sophomore and a junior, offering a well-rounded offensive- and defensive-minded player.

As purely a defensive specialist in the pros, he's averaged just 4.7 and 3.9 in scoring in his two seasons with the 76ers.

Krikey, he might get a chance to shoot it again with some regularity at the Olympics.

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