Keifer Sykes Receives Leadership Award, Key to the City from Mayor Schmitt
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – On Tuesday evening at City Hall, near the beginning of the Green Bay City Council meeting, Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt took time on a busy agenda to recognize men’s basketball senior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.).
The 2014 Horizon League Player of the Year, Sykes was honored not only for his play on the court but also for the way he handles himself as a role model for the youth in Green Bay. Schmitt read a proclamation and handed Sykes a Leadership Award.
"Keifer Sykes is the real world,” said Schmitt, who mentioned observing Sykes at events like the Big Event for Little Kids and the YMCA Healthy Kids Day. “He's a good kid, he studies hard, he plays hard and he is in this community to help Green Bay become a better place."
After an ovation, Schmitt continued with another prestigious honor. And a standing ovation followed for the Phoenix point guard.
"We don't know where his future is going to take him, and a gift that I give to people who will always call Green Bay home no matter where they travel is a gift where they always know they are welcome here, and that's a key to our city."
In accepting the honors, Sykes thanked Mayor Schmitt and the City of Green Bay and said he wasn’t sure as a Chicago native if he would be compatible with this community, especially with the Packers-Bears rivalry.
“This city has had a huge effect on my life from a growth, development and maturity standpoint,” Sykes said. “I enjoy how the individuals in the town embrace me and the team, and I can speak on behalf of the team in saying that we enjoy the opportunities that come with being a part of the program.”
Green Bay head coach Brian Wardle and Director of Athletics Mary Ellen Gillespie were also on hand for the ceremony and presentation of the Leadership Award plaque to Sykes, who averaged 20.3 points, 4.9 assists and 4.4 rebounds per game as a junior in 2013-14.
"Keifer is the epitome of what you want in a student-athlete, especially as a leader in this community,” Wardle said. “He reaches out in all different ways within the community and puts in so much time with young people that people don't even see. They see him on the court, but they don't always see him off the court. He's a tremendous young man and there's not a better recipient than Keifer Sykes for this award."
Wardle guided the Phoenix to a 24-7 overall record and a 14-2 mark in Horizon League play, helping the program to its first regular-season championship since 1995-96. Along with Sykes, Green Bay returns three other starters and nine other letterwinners from last year’s squad.
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