Basketball & Baseball (1993-1998)
"An outstanding two-sport athlete, Sykes made a major impact for both the basketball and baseball programs. He was a starting guard on Valpo's 1998 basketball team that advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 and was a two-time all-conference baseball player, who continued his career professionally in the minor leagues.
In basketball, he ranks 4th on Valpo's all-time list in games played (124), 6th in steals (150) and 7th in assists (359). Sykes is famous for throwing the three-quarter court pass with 2.5 seconds left to Bill Jenkins, who flipped the ball to Bryce Drew, who drained the dramatic 3-point buzzer-beater to beat Mississippi in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 1998. Sykes then scored 19 points in an overtime win over Florida State to help Valpo advance to the Sweet 16. A talented all-around player, Sykes was particularly strong on the defensive end as he was almost always assigned to guard the opponents' top perimeter player.
As a baseball standout, Sykes hit .344 in 129 career games. As a junior in 1997, Sykes was named First Team All-Mid-Continent Conference after hitting .354 with seven home runs and 41 RBIs. In 1996, he batted .336 with five home runs. Sykes burst onto the collegiate baseball scene in 1995 by hitting .343 with nine roundtrippers and was selected as the Mid-Con Newcomer of the Year and First Team All-Mid-Con. On Valpo's all-time lists, Sykes ranks 3rd in triples (12) and 8th in home runs (21). His impressive statistics stand among the best in Mid-Con history as he is 7th in triples and 17th in slugging percentage (.614). He played for several seasons in the Arizona Diamondbacks' organization after being drafted in the 11th round in 1997 following his junior season.