Michigan has had its eye on former Detroit Finney standout, Isaiah Sykes for quite some time now. The Maize & Blue frequented his games in his junior season, but in the fall months that interest seemed to wane a bit. That turned out not to be the case though. The reason for the lack of recruiting noise was Sykes's transfer to Denby for his senior campaign. In the new year Michigan has made it a priority to go out and see Sykes and he has certainly noticed.
"Assistant Coach Mike Jackson has seen me play a couple of times and Coach Beilein had a chance to see me play against Saginaw," he said. "Michigan is recruiting me very hard right now they are really bringing it."
After a tough defeat at the hands of the Saginaw Trojans earlier this season, Sykes picked up an endorsement from one of the state's top football players and also Saginaw's point guard, DeAnthony Arnett.
"Isaiah can really play," Arnett said. "He is a really good basketball player. He can play inside and outside."
Sykes attacks the basket like few others in his class, is an athletic finisher around the rim, and is an outstanding rebounder for his size. John Beilein was on hand for Sykes' 24 point, 18 rebound effort in an upset win over Pershing last week, and Michigan's headman came away extremely impressed.
"Coach Beilein said that he is very interested in me and likes the way I play," Sykes recalled. "Coach likes the way I pass and would like to see me shoot more and be confident in my shot. He was at our game last Wednesday (against Pershing). Coach said he enjoyed the way I played defense.
"When I twisted my ankle and came back in the game he told how much toughness I showed coming back," continued Sykes. "Coach Beilein wants me to come up to Michigan when our season is over."
The Wolverines appear to be enamored with Sykes aforementioned toughness, penchant for physical play, and ability to put the ball on the floor. Their appreciation for his slashing, rebounding, and athleticism is at a premium because those traits are in short supply on the current roster. At the same time, Sykes has a great appreciation for what Michigan can certainly do for him.
"First I would be getting a quality education," he said. "It's also a place that I can play and win at. They have a great program and have good shooters. I feel that they can (stand to) be stronger and more physical, and I can add that to (the team). I want to come in and make an impact. It could give me the chance to help them and for Michigan to help me. I like the way Coach Beilein lets the players play through rough spots and works through it with them. He is a pretty cool guy".
Although he likes what he hears from the coaching staff, he has had the chance to talk to Michigan's top player, and that may have been just as impactful.
"I talked to Manny Harris and he told me that Beilein is a good coach, but you have to work your way into his trust," Sykes explained. "Manny said that it would be a good fit for me and how I have to be willing and dedicated to Michigan. He told me there is no messing around about going to class and how I would need to focus on my education".
Believe it or not Sykes has no leader at this time because according to Denby Coach Chuck Albright doesn't currently have any offers. His recruitment was likely slowed by the fact that he didn't become eligible to play for Denby until January 19th due to transfer rules. The good news according Albright is Sykes now has met all of his academic requirements and is ready to go. At this time Michigan, Penn State, Tennessee, Central Michigan, USC and the University of Detroit are all showing serious interest in him.
With signing day just under a month, away expect for Michigan along with a number of other schools to continue to turn up the heat.