|Posted by Brian Dickmann on April 7, 2016 at 4:15 PM|
The NBA D-League playoffs are underway and former Green Bay star Keifer Sykes is playing a major role.
The #2 seed Austin Spurs are squaring off against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in the first round, with the Vipers taking the first game of the best of three series on Tuesday night at home, 136-133 in overtime.
Sykes scored 22 points, grabbed 4 rebounds, and dished out 4 assists in losing effort in game one.
The D-League playoffs consist of eight teams and three rounds. Each series is best of three. Game two is tonight (Thursday) at 7:30 and can be streamed live on YouTube.
Sykes helped the Spurs, the D-League affiliate of the San Antonio Spurs, to a 30-20 record in the regular season, good for first place in the Southwest Division. In 50 games, he averaged 12.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game in 31.0 minutes of action. He started 37 of the team’s 50 games.
Sykes finished his Green Bay career 2nd all-time in school history in scoring behind only Tony Bennett. He was named the Horizon League Player of the Year in each of his final two seasons.
April recruiting begins
With the Final Four and NCAA Tournament coming to a close, it is time to focus on the future.
Barring an unforeseen transfer this summer, Green Bay’s roster seems to be set for the 2016/2017 season. The Phoenix say goodbye to seniors Carrington Love and Jordan Fouse, two of the best in program history, but welcome in a class of 2016 duo in Trevor Anderson and Kam Hankerson that are handpicked for head coach Linc Darner’s up-tempo style.
So, with the 2016 class signed and the roster for next season seemingly set, the Phoenix coaching staff can turn their eyes toward the classes of 2017, 2018, and beyond. The NCAA’s recruiting dead period ended Thursday and coaches are now allowed to scout and recruit players at various AAU events around the country.
Green Bay could have as many as six scholarships to offer for the 2017 high school class to replace the soon-to-be senior class of Kenneth Lowe, Turner Botz, Charles Cooper, Jamar Hurdle, Tevin Findlay, and Warren Jones. It is likely the Phoenix will attempt to balance the classes with a blend of Division I or junior college transfers as well as class of 2017 high school talent.
For 2018, as of right now the Phoenix have four scholarships available. Darner has extended scholarship offers to several 2018 prospects, mainly from the state of Wisconsin.
Darner has even extended his first class of 2019 scholarship offer to Joseph Yesufu, a 5’9” point guard from Bolingbrook, IL.
This summer represents a crucial time for Green Bay as they look to build on the momentum of their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 20 years.
Uwadiae to graduate
Green Bay’s 6’11” big man Henry Uwadiae plans to graduate this May, according to Scott Venci of USA Today Network – Wisconsin.
Uwadiae arrived as a junior college transfer from Kirkwood Community College after originally committing to Wichita State. He played one season at Kirkwood before suiting up the past two seasons for the Phoenix.
In 29 career games with the Phoenix, Uwadiae has scored 25 total points and grabbed 25 rebounds in 118 minutes.
He has a year of eligibility remaining and could either play his final season in Green Bay or, more likely, transfer to another school and be immediately eligible.
If he departs, Uwadiae’s scholarship would almost certainly go to Merrill native David Jesperson, who was not on scholarship this year. Jesperson sat out this past season due to NCAA transfer rules after transferring from Pepperdine.
Green Bay’s former star center Alec Brown is having a solid season in his first year playing in Spain. The 7’1” Brown is averaging 6.5 points and 3.1 rebounds in 16.8 minutes per game for Obradoiro and is hitting 40.7% (22-54) of his three point field goals this season. He missed the first 5 games of the season due to an ankle injury. Unfortunately, his team is just 7-19 this season…..Both of Green Bay’s 2016 recruits have received accolades so far this offseason. Trevor Anderson was named Co-Mr. Basketball as well the AP Player of the Year in the state of Wisconsin. The Phoenix other promising prospect, Kameron Hankerson, was named honorable mention all-state in Michigan despite missing the final 12 games of the season with a knee injury. The 6’4” Hankerson averaged 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 3.3 steals per game for Novi (MI) his senior season…….Former Green Bay guard Daeshon Francis has found a new Division I basketball home. The 6’3” Francis has committed to Stephen F Austin after playing last season at Midland College in Texas. He played one season with the Phoenix in 2014/2015 and averaged 4.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 13.5 minutes per game as a freshman before transferring to Midland after former head coach Brian Wardle accepted the head coaching job at Bradley. Francis averaged 17.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game at the JUCO level this past season and helped his team to a 21-9 record.