(WFRV) – If there’s one thing that Keifer Sykes left after his senior year at UW-Green Bay — it’s a legacy and after going undrafted in the 2015 NBA draft, Sykes is getting his shot in the NBA and making the most of it.

Sykes left it all out on the court for the men’s basketball team at UW-Green Bay during his tenure with the Phoenix from 2011-2015. The Chicago native won back-to-back Horizon League Player of the Year awards during his junior and senior seasons.

Since leaving the university after his senior year, Sykes has played in the NBA G-League, over seas, back to the G-League, and finally was presented an opportunity seven years after his college tenure. In December, the Indiana Pacers signed Sykes for the remainder of the 2021-22 NBA season.

“To be honest, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I never had anything given to me and that keeps me ambitious. I definitely have a sense of just being grateful, but very much ambitious and moments like this make me more hungry and strive for more moments like this”, Sykes said after Tuesday night’s matchup between the Bucks and Pacers.

Sykes has had a few moments during his month and a half long tenure in the NBA that have made him take a step back. One of them was playing Steph Curry and the Warriors during primetime. Sykes came through clutch late in the game to power Indiana to victory in overtime.

Another moment came when he faced off against his former high school and college teammate at Green Bay Alfonzo McKinnie when the Pacers played the Bulls.

“Coming from a place like Green Bay, people don’t make it to the NBA — it’s just rare. For us to exchange jerseys and do that together, that was definitely another huge moment for us, for everyone, for our families, for Wisconsin, for Chicago, and another great moment in our legacy”, Sykes shared.

When the Pacers pulled off a stunning trade to acquire Oshkosh North graduate Tyrese Haliburton from the Sacramento Kings, another Wisconsin connection walked into Indiana’s locker room and it’s something that both players can connect about.

“It was amazing. The first thing [Haliburton] said was, ‘What’s up, GB legend?’. I knew he went to Oshkosh, I didn’t know if he knew of me or if he would know, but for him to break the ice like that in our relationship – that was really cool”, Sykes said.

How could Haliburton not know who Sykes was? When Tyrese was in middle school paving his way to leaving an imprint not only in Oshkosh, but Wisconsin in general, he would watch Sykes highlights playing for the Phoenix – just miles away on highway I-41.

“That’s what Keif is – he’s a GB legend. I think I speak for every kid around my age when we got a Green Bay offer — the first thing that comes to your mind is Keifer Sykes. It’s cool. He has a 9-2-0 number. I was like ‘Wow! That’s pretty cool'”, Haliburton expressed.

On Tuesday night, Sykes came back to the state where his college journey began – Wisconsin – to play the Milwaukee Bucks. He scored 10 points, posted 5 assists, and played 28 minutes. When Sykes spoke to the media before the game, he shared the moment of getting off of the plane and just reminiscing on all of the times shared playing basketball in Wisconsin.

“All of the games I played at the Resch Center, just thinking about all of the games I played in Wisconsin in general, and to be finally playing here in the Fiserv Forum and to make it to this level versus the Bucks, my legacy just continues to go on.”