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Chapter 2:  What Do We Know About Isaiah Sykes?
Chapter 2: What Do We Know About Isaiah Sykes?
Jim Meadows
Published by Swampy Meadows
Chapter 2: What Do We Know About Isaiah Sykes?

BEVERLY HILLS (MI) –- The much-anticipated matchup between Isaiah Sykes and his Detroit Finney HS teammates and nationally ranked Detroit Pershing HS lost a bit of its luster when the Doughboys dropped a tough decision to Detroit Southeastern earlier this week. Here are the details, courtesy of the Freep:


Adding further to the intrigue is the fact that Finney has already beaten Southeastern, which means that were Pershing to lose to Finney, the Doughboys would go from being nationally ranked to not even qualifying for the Detroit PSL Eastern Division Playoffs…in one week!

The Steve Smith Gym at Pershing HS is festooned with a number of banners. That’s correct: the MSU and NBA star attended Pershing and has been very generous in supporting both of his alma maters. The Doughboys won State Championships in 1967 and 1970 under legendary coach Will Robinson (who mentored Doug Collins at Illinois State) and again in 1991-92 and finished 2nd in 1992-93 when Smith was there. Unlike the game at Kettering, befitting their namesake Pershing had a color guard and did play the National Anthem and do team introductions. That’s where the fun began: Pershing got called for a technical, I believe because Derrick Nix didn’t go shake hands with Coach Ray Reeves of Finney. So the game began with the score 2-0 Finney and they got the ball on the side, with no jump ball.

Pershing has a loaded squad: Class of 2010 PG Keith Appling has verballed to MSU and senior C Derrick Nix has signed with the Spartans. The Doughboys also feature Juwan Howard, Jr. son of the U of M star who almost attended UD. Finney is more than just Isaiah Sykes, but they would have their hands full in this contest. Early on in the proceedings Appling took it to the rim from the top of the key and dunked over Isaiah, which sent the Pershing fans into hysterics. Not to be outdone, Isaiah drove to the hole and broke a double hesitation move on his man to score on a spinning layup. Sykes was covering Appling early on, but then switched defensive assignments in order to evade foul trouble. The game went back and forth in a series of hot and cold streaks and Finney led at the half 35-33.

That’s when Pershing turned it up a notch, as they would score 28 points in the third stanza and take a commanding 61-46 lead. Finney was plagued by turnovers and Isaiah got called for a bogus offensive foul on a made layup. It was all downhill from there as the Doughboys cruised to an 89-68 decision. Keith Appling finished with 29 points while Isaiah had a line of 15 points (5 FG, 5-10 FT), 2 assists, 7 rebounds, 1 steal and a block.

Appling is the real deal, a jet quick PG who can dish and score; Derrick Nix, on the other hand is a project. He needs to drop even more weight than he already has, altho he did show flashes of some big man footwork on occasion. He also needs to work on the ‘tude –- besides the technical to open the game (assessed against the team and not him) he got rung up for a flagrant foul on a dunk attempt by Finney.

UD pride MB poster “Medford” asked if Isaiah has an outside shot. The answer is I don’t know, as in the 2 games I saw him he only attempted 1 shot from beyond the paint, which he missed. What the kid does have is a tremendous handle and an intuitive sense for the game. He consistently made brilliant passes to teammates but they either missed the shot or got hammered. In Division 1 hoops he will be playing with guys who can finish.

The question also came up on the MB: do we need another PG in the class of 2010? I wouldn’t classify Sykes as a pure PG, he’s more of a Point Forward. At 6’6” (and reportedly still growing) with a wingspan of 7’0” Isaiah Sykes will be a matchup problem at the collegiate level. Pairing Isaiah Sykes with Juwan Staten would be an unbelievably lethal combination.

Let me put it to you this way: If Ryan Perryman (who was the same size) had the ball handling skills that Isaiah Sykes possesses, he would be playing in the NBA.

MB poster “flyerpassion” asked: does BG have a realistic chance of landing Sykes? Heck, I don’t know. He said UD was one of his 4 favorites and would like to come down to the Arena and see a game. That’s got to be in our favor.

No matter what happens, remember the name. Trust me, this will not be the last time you read about Isaiah Sykes.

That’s it “From the Swamp.”
You can email me at: swampy@udpride.com
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