Keifer Jerail Sykes is a professional basketball player from Chicago, Ill. He was born to Lisa and the late James Sykes on December 30, 1993, the youngest of 9 children. Sykes attended Marshall High School and was a standout there, being named to the second team All-Chicago Public High School League by the Chicago Sun-Times. Keifer was offered two division 1 scholarships and decided to play for coach Brian Wardle at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Two of Sykes' high school teammates, Alfonzo McKinnie and Vincent Garrett, ended up joining him in Green Bay. He not only excelled in basketball at Green Bay, but he also earned his communications degree.
"Basketball was the last thing on my mind..."
Keifer thrived in Green Bay, WI, away from the violence and vulnerability of Chicago, but also away from the family that shaped and molded him into a responsible, caring, hard-working young man. In 2012, his father passed away from a heart attack and it almost broke Keifer:
“When I got home, my family was torn apart and I was the worst of all. Basketball was the last thing on my mind and I felt like I didn’t want to play anymore. All I wanted to do was be there for my mom and the family and fulfill my dad’s role. But when I finally got back to school, I knew what I had to do to make my father proud and that was to play this game with everything I had in order to create opportunities for my family like he did. This is when I began to challenge myself mentally like never before because I knew I had to get something out of this game”, he himself wrote for the Eastbayblog.