Keifer Sykes was a standout four year player at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay; Over his four year career there he was Horizon League player of the year twice and was first team all Horizon League three times. He is currently in the NBA D-League and most recently played for the Golden State Warriors in summer league.
Q: What was your AAU career like?
A: I played AAU 3 of my highschool years and I started playing on the more serious circuit after my freshman year and I played for the Illinois hawks it was awesome because it let me play in a diffretn structured setting and it helped show my the versatility of the game.
Q: When did you first realize you would be division one caliber at basketball?
A: I don’t I knew that until I got my first offer, I played on a team where we all played our. I was not any more standout than most of my teammates, but nobody on my team was highly recruited we each averaged about 10-15 points. When I saw my team get offers when we went to state my junior year I knew I had a chance.
Q: What was your recruitment like?
A: My recruitment was quick, I got my first letter after my junior year and before my senior year happened I had committed. One team was loyal to me from day one, they saw me my junior year and they understood what I cared about and were loyal to me on and off the court. I committed before my senior season.
Q: What was it like to play Basketball in a football town?
A: It was actually a really good thing, we were the highest level winter/spring in the sport. We got the attention of loyal sports fans. We were able to recruit good guys from in state and there were good guys there before me. IT was exciting playing basketball in the horizon league in green bay.
Q: What were your first two years like?
A: My first year had a big learning curve, when you go up a level there is always a different brand of basketball you have to adjust to. I its about how fast you can transform to that level. It is about the pieces you have and how you fit together. My first two years were a stepping stone, for my last two where we were preseason number one in the horizon league.
Q: Any distinguishable difference between the first two years and the next two years?
A: Yeah we were in the media a lot more and we wanted to be a tournament team. Even though we didn’t make it to the tournament. We knew teams would give us their best shot and we had to win to put ourselves in position to be a tournament team. The level of play from us and our opponents was higher. We beat a couple of high major teams and that was big for our program.
Q: What was it like to be a Mid-Major Star?
A: It was good, it opened up a lot more opportunities for me. High major and mid major are different levels for me to be one of the more profile guys in my league and even in mid majors as whole. I was invited to the Chris Paul camp and it gave me a chance to prove myself and raise my standards for myself.
Q: What has basketball meant to you?
A: Basketball has been everything to me, since I started playing. Since highschool, gradeschool college and the pros it been a dream for me. I always dreamed of playing basketball at high levels, but its also been kind of like work. It’s a necessity I need to live every day, its been something that has enabled me to meet so many people.
Q: What did Green bay mean to you?
A: Green Bay meant a lot to me, because I made the decision to go to a college, it’s a tough decision to pick a college for anyone. I had to pick one that fit me as a student and a player. School has educated me and put me in a situation I never thought I’d be in and I got it all for free. In terms of basketball the way the city was there for me winning or losing they embraced the team and the family. It raised my standards for me as a basketball player, we turned basketball into something people wanted watch. We created something good
Q: Can you talk about how the last year for you?
A: The last year has gone really good for me. I was able to learn another level going through the NBA combine, landing with the Cavs, training camp with the spurs, played with the NBA D-League team. Summer league with the warriors this year, had a dream to play in the NBA and to be this close is amazing and I have been able to be around the best franchises, I feel like I’ve been blessed. Basketball has opened up so much for me it furthered my career and who I am.
Q: Anything interesting about your pre-game routine?
A: I just put RIP DAD on my socks before I play, no special songs or anything.
Q: Any past or present players you seek to emulate when you play?
A: A mix of people Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook I know these are higher level people, but I think I can make plays similar to the ones they do. Derrick Rose, because he is from Chicago. Russell Westbrook Because I think he is one of the best players in the NBA.
Q: What are your plans after your basketball career?
A: I want to make a lot of money and explore business opportunities. Be an entrepreneur and be my own boss and invest the money I make now.
Q: What do you think basketball means to the Midwest?
A: For somebody like me, a young male growing up with basketball players. We want to play a certain style of basketball that is exciting for the fans. It amazes me that so many people watch sports in the mid-west it’s a dream for most kids it can make dreams come true for a lot of people in that area.
Q: Did you have a favorite a road venue to play in?
A: UIC when I came home back to Chicago, it was cool to play in my hometown. I used to look at that date on the schedule the first day we got it.