My wife and I are excited for the next step in this journey and we know it's just one among many. —Eric Mika
PROVO — BYU forward Eric Mika has decided to turn pro, concluding his Cougar basketball career and forgoing his final two seasons of eligibility.
Mika announced Tuesday night that he’ll sign with an agent and remain in the upcoming NBA Draft.
Mika declared for draft March 22, and he participated in the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last week.
“My wife and I are excited for the next step in this journey and we know it's just one among many,” he said in a statement. “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.”
The draft will be held June 22. Mika and other underclassmen who had not signed with an agent had until May 24 to decide whether or not to remain in the draft.
For BYU, Mika's departure leaves a big void in the post next season. The Cougars can now add one more player for its roster next season to take the scholarship reserved for Mika. The signing period ends Wednesday.
Coach Dave Rose expressed his support for Mika in a statement.
“We’re very excited for Eric and support him in this decision,” 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.”
Mika will continue to participate in workouts and interviews with teams in the league leading up the draft.
Last season as a sophomore, just months after returning from his two-year LDS Church mission to Italy, the 6-foot-10 forward out of Lone Peak High averaged 20.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. Mika scored in double figures in all 34 games and had 17 double-doubles. One of those performances came in a 79-71 upset of No. 1 ranked and undefeated Gonzaga as he scored 29 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.
Mika was named first-team All-West Coast Conference and was the USBWA District VIII Player of the Year.
When he announced his intention to enter the draft in March, Mika said it wasn’t until relatively recently that he realized that the NBA could be a possibility for him.73 comments on this story
“It’s kind of a new thought,” he said. “I remember my senior year of high school someone asked me in an interview, ‘Have you ever thought about the NBA?’ Up to that point, I honestly don’t think that I had. I remember talking to (former Lone Peak high coach) Quincy Lewis in an interview once in his office after a season and he said, ‘You could do a lot of things with this sport. You could play this for a long time if you really want to, if you commit to it.’ I think it was towards the end of my senior year of high school that I figured out that I really like this, and apparently people think I’m good at it so I’d love to play and commit to it.”