Thursday, July 24, 2014

BYU basketball: Eric Mika submits LDS mission papers

By Brandon Judd, Deseret News

Published: Mon, Feb. 10 4:22 p.m. MST

 Brigham Young Cougars center Eric Mika  yells after a slam dunk during NCAA action in Provo Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014.

Brigham Young Cougars center Eric Mika yells after a slam dunk during NCAA action in Provo Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014.

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

BYU freshman forward Eric Mika took one more step toward an expected two-year hiatus from college basketball.

Over the weekend, Mika tweeted he's submitted his LDS mission papers.

The freshman has started 24 games for the Cougars this season, averaging 13.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

In BYU's two most recent games, he's recorded double-doubles, with 15 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Santa Clara and 13 points and 13 rebounds against San Francisco.

Three other players from Mika's 2013 recruiting class — Nick Emery, Braiden Shaw and Jakob Hartsock — are already serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Emery, a teammate of Mika's at Lone Peak High, is serving in the Germany Frankfurt Mission, according to byuroster.com; Shaw is in the California Sacramento Mission and Hartsock, the younger brother of former Cougar Noah Hartsock, is serving in the Nevada Las Vegas West Mission.

"Unless I'm scoring 40 points and getting 20 boards every game and going straight to the NBA, I don't think I'll skip out on a mission," Mika jokingly told the Associated Press in March 2013. "It will be good both physically and mentally. It will get me in the right mode to just be ready to work every day. And hopefully I mature physically."

Email: bjudd@deseretnews.com; Twitter: @brandonljudd

Recommended
1. Down under
Salt Lake City, UT,
Feb. 10, 2014

Good for him. There is more to life than basketball. He will be better prepared mentally to play when he gets back.

2. CougFaninTX
Frisco, TX,
Feb. 10, 2014

Congrats Eric. Serving a mission is a great "life" decision. While you will be missed the next two years at the MC, I'm already looking forward to 2017 with you, Dastrup, Hartsock and Shaw in the paint. The future is great for BYU basketball.

3. trueblueBYU
Provo, UT,
Feb. 10, 2014

Good for him. You've got to love it: young people who have their priorities straight.

4. Elk Hair Caddis
Sandy, UT,
Feb. 10, 2014

Wish the story would have included who is returning from missions to fill the void. Anyone know?

5. Cougar Blue 1
Henderson , NV,
Feb. 10, 2014

Congrats Eric! One of the best decisions you will ever make. If this kid ever develops a mid range jumper, he would be tough to stop.