Matisse Thybulle left the University of Washington his senior year with high hopes of being selected in the first round of the NBA draft.
When the Boston Celtics made that dream come true with the 20th pick, the Naismith defensive player of the year told a national audience on ESPN he had one more wish which will never come true.
“I wish she was here to see it,” Thybulle said, referring to his late mother, Dr. Elizabeth Thybulle, who died four years ago—when Matisse was only 17 years old, after she battled acute myeloid leukemia.
“Even until the end when she was getting sick, she never let anything stop her from doing what she wanted to do,” Thybulle told ESPN.
“My mom was a doctor and she took care of people, so I try to give back as much as I can,” he said.
More than 2,800 miles away from Brooklyn, New York, where the NBA draft was held, Thybulle’s aunt, Amy Sehrer, was overcome with emotion after hearing her nephew speaking of her beloved sister.
“My heart is full, and it’s broken at the same time,” said Sehrer from a watch party with close friends in Clyde Hill.
“I loved it when he said’ he wished she was here,’ because he did so many things for her,” Sehrer said. “And she was such a support for him.”
“He is so humble, and he just has the most beautiful soul,” Sehrer said.
Sehrer recalled the most memorable game Matisse played his senior year at Eastside Catholic, after his mother died.
“It was at Eastside Catholic,” Sehrer said.
“The game was played in the exact stadium where we had her memorial earlier that day. Same place. And he scored 31 points that night.”
Thybulle was quoted in social media saying, “I’m just happy to have this platform, continue my career in basketball, play the game I love and represent my family. I try to give back as much as I can, and I feel like the NBA has given me an amazing stage to do that, and I can’t wait.”
Shortly after Thybulle was selected, the Philadelphia 76ers traded to get him on their roster.
“He will do everything on that big stage with humility, Sehrer said. “He’s the role model you want your son or daughter to follow.”
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