As the 2015 NBA Draft nears on Thursday, a number of area players are looking to make last-minute impressions with teams they hope will give them a phone call, and later a contract. Two players with ties to Wisconsin are among those visiting the Milwaukee Bucks ahead of draft day - Milwaukee native Kevon Looney and former UW-Green Bay point guard Keifer Sykes.
Looney played one season at UCLA before choosing to take his game to the next level.
"It's always something I've always thought about, always dreamed about," Looney said. "Always wanted to go to the NBA - who wouldn't want to play for their hometown team?"
Looney pointed out the upswing the team has taken under Jason Kidd, who led Milwaukee to a playoff berth in his first season. The Bucks also have introduced new colors and jerseys, are attempting to build a new arena.
"There's a lot of buzz around the city. This is a great team," Looney said.
Sykes, a Chicago native, also would like to suit up for the Bucks, or any other NBA team. He will participate in pre-draft activities with 18 teams before Thursday's first round of the draft, but has had to overcome criticism toward his height. He's listed a six feet tall.
"I feel like the tools that I have, I could really help an NBA team. Watching the NBA, there's a lot of guys that are my size," Sykes said, pointing out Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers as an example. "He's not that much bigger than me, so I really don't get into the aspect of my height. I just try to get into the aspect of trying to produce."
Bucks Director of Scouting Billy McKinney said Sykes was one of the best athletes to come through pre-draft workouts.
"In addition to that, he has really good point guard skills," McKinney said. "People look at him as a scorer. He's a really good defender, but he also has really good point guard skills."
The NBA Draft begins Thursday at 6 p.m. in Brooklyn. The Milwaukee Bucks own the 17th overall pick.