Phoenix sign Chicago guard Keifer Sykes

Keifer Sykes, #28 of AX Armani Exchange Milan. Alius Koroliovas/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

The South East Melbourne Phoenix have completed their roster with the signing of import point guard Keifer Sykes, the team announced on Tuesday.

Sykes, 26, is coming off a short stint with Panathinaikos, where he played just four games over the course of this October. The 5'11 point guard's most recent season of substance was with Olimpia Milano during their 2019-20 campaign, where he averaged 13.8 points and 3.7 assists during league play.

"I just believed that this was my best chance to win a championship," Sykes said of his signing with the Phoenix.

"I came over here to be a point guard, to lead, and to win. My number one thing I want to always do is win.

"I think the NBL will bring out the best in all of my abilities and that's why I'm excited to be here. I just want to win at the end of the day and take this team to the playoffs and see how far we can go."

Undrafted out of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2015, Sykes went on to play with the Austin Spurs - the San Antonio Spurs' NBA G-League affiliate - for his first professional season, before venturing abroad.

The Chicago-native has played in Korea, Turkey, Italy, Greece, and China, with Australia the next stop in his career.

"I love his speed, quickness, and tenacity. It stands out on both sides of the ball," said Phoenix head coach Simon Mitchell who, alongside CEO Tommy Greer, watched Sykes play for the Denver Nuggets during last year's NBA Summer League action.

"His ability to score or deliver to teammates out of the pick and roll is exceptional and will be enhanced with the shooting we will be putting on the floor with him. He also has that next level athletic ability when he gets into the paint.

"Most importantly, from our discussions, Keifer just talks about winning and his willingness to do whatever it will take to win."

Sykes is currently quarantining in Sydney, and will join his Phoenix teammates by mid-to-late December.

The signing gives the Phoenix their starting point guard for the season, with Sykes joining Ben Moore, Mitch Creek, Cam Gliddon, Reuben Te Rangi, Kyle Adnam, Dane Pineau, Kendall Stephens, Yanni Wetzell, and Adam Gibson on a now-complete roster. The Phoenix still have the option to sign a Next Star.

The 2020-21 NBL season will tip off on January 10, with a matchup between the Phoenix and Melbourne. The league released the first five rounds of its season schedule last Thursday.