Basketball always extended beyond the scoreboard or stat sheet for UCF senior guard Isaiah Sykes. Growing up in Southwest Detroit, it was the courts that kept him off the streets. His father died after suffering complications from diabetes when Sykes was just three years old, and basketball coaches became the male influences in his life. Sykes would sleep with his ball and pound it off the floor of his home until his mother begged him to stop. The game was an outlet, but it has since grown into more than that for Sykes. Now, it is about the tiny hand Sykes sometimes gets to hold when he walks across the UCF basketball court after games. His daughter, 2-year-old Makayla, who lives in Michigan, is the inspiration. "Usually people working hard on basketball, it'd be for yourself," Sykes said. "When you have a daughter or a son or a child, you're not just working for yourself, you're working for your family. You've got to change the objectives of it. You've got to look at the bigger picture. It's not just about you. I put them before me, and this is what I've got to do in order for her to have the life I want for her." What the future holds for Sykes remains an unknown, but the possibilities are greater than when he first stepped foot on campus.
UCF guard Isaiah Sykes' rise to pro prospect fueled by family
Orlando Sentinel | Mar 7