The choices were Memphis, Loyola Marymount or West Virginia.
In the end, Fresno City College guard/forward Josh Sykes chose coach Mike Dunlap’s Loyola Maryamount team.
“Felt like the right place to be at,” the 6-foot-8 sophomore said. “Felt like they can take care of me there.”
Sykes signed his letter of intent Wednesday with parents John and Lisa Sykes by his side and brother John IV and sister Reina looking on.
Never miss a local story.
“I was just really thinking about where should I get my education at,” Sykes said, “and also what would be better for me playing.”
Sykes had a good summer season and also had Gonzaga, Cal, Nevada and San Diego State courting him at various levels of interest. He had said before last week’s opener that he wanted to get the decision out of the way this week to allow him to better focus on the Rams’ season.
A visit to the Loyola’s campus in Los Angeles left him awestruck.
“Main thing I really liked is there is this open space where you can sit on the hill, look around and see the city,” he said. “That’s the one spot I would just go over there and just see the (surroundings).”
Rams coach Ed Madec said it does not matter to him whether his players continue their careers. He just wants to see Sykes and others earn their four-year degrees.
“I support his decision 100 percent,” he said. “I just want these kids to get an education and a degree. That’s all I care about. I told him I don’t care if he goes to Loyola Marymount. I told that to the coach, that if he doesn’t score one point or one rebound it’s why he’s becoming a man … to get a degree. He does that and basketball will take care of itself.”
Sykes said he sees similarities in the coaching philosophies of Madec and Dunlap and believes that will ease his transition.
“Playing for coach Madec I feel like he’s doing the same type of stuff,” Sykes said, “and I’ve been learning that for the past two years.”
Volleyball – Fresno City (19-4, 13-0) clinched another outright Central Valley Conference title with last week’s sweep of Columbia. The Rams ranked No. 8 in the state, and looking to finish an undefeated conference run with a win over Porterville on Friday, will learn their postseason path Nov. 22 when NorCal and SoCal seedings are announced.
Women’s soccer – The Rams’ women’s soccer team had its eight-year reign as CVC champs come to a halt Friday, drawing 0-0 in regular-season closing match with front-running Taft.
Taft (12-5-2, 5-0-1) beat the Rams 1-0 earlier this season to snap their nine-year unbeaten streak in CVC play. The Rams (16-1-4, 4-1-1) still expect a top seed when regional playoff fields are announced Tuesday. Fresno City was No. 2 in the most recent state rankings.
Men’s soccer – Fresno City’s men (12-5-4, 4-2) clinched a CVC title share with Taft after Friday’s 7-0 rout of Sequoias.
Seven different Rams’ players scored in the victory that clinched the program’s 13th league title in 17 years under head coach Eric Solberg. Fresno City, a likely host for a first-round match, will find out its postseason fate when regional playoff fields are announced Tuesday.