By: Andrew Gavin (@GBGavin)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) – Green Bay men’s basketball junior Keifer Sykes (Chicago, Ill.) has been named to the 2014 Bob Cousy Award Watch List for the second-straight season, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced on Tuesday morning. The Cousy Award is handed out annually to the nation’s top collegiate point guard.
Sykes was placed on the Watch List, which includes the country’s top 50 point guards, by a committee of media members and influential people within college basketball from around the country. The list will be cut to 20 point guards in early February and to the five finalists in early March. Michigan’s Trey Burke claimed the honor for the 2012-13 season.
An All-Horizon League First-Team selection as a sophomore in 2012-13, Sykes was the runner-up for Horizon League Preseason Player of the Year to Youngstown State’s Kendrick Perry, the only other player in the conference to earn a spot on the list. Sykes and teammate Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) were both named to the Preseason All-Horizon League First-Team.
Sykes enters his junior campaign with 874 points and 247 assists in 64 career games. In 2012-13, Sykes averaged 15.9 points and 4.3 assists per contest. Sykes reached double figures in 31 of 34 games and his 539 points broke the program record for points scored by a sophomore.
The Chicago native reached 20 points or more eight times as a sophomore, including a career-high 31 points on two occasions. The Chicago native scored 31 points in the Horizon League Championship semifinals at Valparaiso, almost leading the Phoenix to an upset win over the host Crusaders.
An All-Newcomer Team selection as a freshman, Sykes’ numbers stemmed last year in large part to staggering increases in his shooting percentages. Sykes raised his three-point percentage from 23.3 to 42.3 percent and upped his free-throw percentage from 66.7 to 81.5 percent. Making more free throws than any other player in the conference, Sykes broke the Green Bay record with 159 makes from the charity stripe.
Sykes has been named Horizon League Player of the Week four times in his career, including three times in 2012-13. With 874 points, the 5-foot-11 guard enters the season just 126 points from becoming the program’s 26th member of the 1,000-points club.
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