By Joe Henricksen
Wisconsin Green-Bay head coach Brian Wardle dipped into his home state Friday and nabbed a future point guard in Marshall's Keifer Sykes. The 5-9 guard, who was terrific last March in leading the Commandos to Peoria, committed to Wardle and the Phoenix.
"The staff and the players made me and my family feel so comfortable," said Sykes, who had an in-home visit with Wardle, a Hinsdale Central graduate, on Thursday. "They answered all our questions and really showed an urgency that they wanted me. My whole family was as excited as I was."
Wardle could have an all-Chicago backcourt down the road with Sykes and Terry Johnson, who is sitting out this season after transferring from Illinois State.
"Terry Johnson was great when talking with me," said Sykes, who visited the campus last weekend. "He went out of his way to help me and made me feel comfortable."
Sykes averaged 10 points and over four assists a game last season in helping Marshall to a 28-win season and a third-place finish in Class 3A. He was the heart and soul of the Commandos as a junior, showing an ability to make big plays and score big baskets when it counted the most. He was a rock in a pair of sectional wins last March, scoring 20 points in back-to-back games in wins over Riverside-Brookfield and Crane. Then in a victory over St. Viator in the supersectional, Sykes again led Marshall in scoring with a game-high 17 points.
The Hoops Report has viewed Sykes as an undervalued prospect who wasn't able to show his true self this past summer. Sykes admits he didn't have the summer he had hoped, but he's anxious to prove some doubters wrong and who have been quick to forget how special he was last March.
"My goal is go out and prove to people the type of player I really am," says Sykes. "I still feel as though I'm underrated. I had a tough summer as I had never played with the Fire before, but I know how to win. There are a lot of other players ranked ahead of me that haven't shown they can win."
Sykes brings special character, strong academics and possesses some mojo in that small frame. He plays with confidence and knows how to play the point guard position. He doesn't get rattled and constantly puts his team first.
"I want Marshall to win 20-plus games again and get back to Peoria," says Sykes. "That's the goal."