BYU forward Eric Mika announced on Tuesday that he will sign with an agent and remain in the 2017 NBA Draft, which brings his time playing for BYU basketball to a close.
“My wife and I are excited for the next step in this journey and we know it’s just one among many,” Mika said in a press release. “I loved my time at BYU and it truly was a dream come true playing and studying here and I wouldn’t trade the memories I made here for anything. I have tremendous love and respect for the coaches, staff and players and loved working with them all. I’m excited to see what happens in the next five weeks.”
Mika participated in the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last week, where hopeful draftees had the opportunity to prove themselves in games and skills testing. Moving forward, Mika will participate in workouts with various NBA teams.
When Mika announced in March he would enter the draft, the Lone Peak High School alum didn’t sign an agent to leave returning to BYU basketball as an option while he explored his NBA potential.
“I expect to do well. I wouldn’t be entering my name, I wouldn’t be making a big deal out of it if I wasn’t expecting to do well and get drafted,” Mika said in March. “I have confidence in myself and my abilities and I’m hoping that I’ll get some attention from teams and do really well.”
During that press conference, Mika admitted that part of his draw to the NBA Draft following his sophomore season was the unexpected success in his second year as well as his age.
“A lot of the guys are 18, 19 and I’m 22. I would be a senior, so that’s definitely something I considered, I thought about and decided it would be the best time for me to go now.” —Eric Mika, BYU forward
“I’ve definitely thought about it. A lot of the guys are 18, 19 and I’m 22,” Mika said. “I would be a senior, so that’s definitely something I considered, I thought about and decided it would be the best time for me to go now.”
BYU coach Dave Rose said in a postseason media roundtable press conference that he wasn’t surprised when Mika decided to enter the draft early in his college career.
“I was pretty prepared for that,” Rose said. …”He had a couple teams that had expressed interest to us as a staff that wanted to bring him in and work him out. And the only way they can pursue that is to put your name in the draft, so we were expecting that. I think Eric’s done a great job with it. He’s worked really hard and he’s spent a lot of time in here on his own. He’s flown back and forth on the weekends to get competition against professional guys.”
With Mika’s official decision to leave the program, Rose is supportive.
“We’re very excited for Eric and support him in this decision,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “He has the potential to be a great pro because of his amazing work ethic and the great support system around him. It was a privilege to coach Eric and he will always be remembered as a great player at BYU.”
During the 2016-17 season, the BYU sophomore was a first-team All-West Coast Conference player and a second-team CoSIDA Academic All-American in 2016-17. He set the record for offensive rebounds (104), was fourth in blocks (63) and 12th in total rebounds (312). Mika also shot the second most free throws (295) and had the third most makes (225) in the NCAA. He averaged 20.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per game during his sophomore season.