Busting Brackets

Eric Mika: Scouting Profile


After transferring from Waterford to Lone Peak, Eric Mika had to sit out last year and watch his team win the Utah state championship. This year, having the chance to win one himself, he put together a solid playoff performance and led the Knights to their second consecutive state title. Throughout the playoffs, Mika averaged 16 points and 13 boards. In the final game, he scored 16 point and had 18 rebounds, he took home the tournament MVP.

Now that his high school career is complete, Mika can focus his attention to his budding NCAA career. The third best center in the 2013 recruiting class, Mika has been committed to BYU for almost two years. It seems like there was no other choice for him though had he decided to weigh other options, any team would have wanted him.

Here is a highlight video of his time in high school.


While 6″9 may be a little bit small for a center, he is excellently built. Mika’s muscle structure and body does not look like a teenager’s as he has been working hard on it, especially in the year that he had to sit out. Combined with his athleticism, which is excellent and allows him to run the floor painlessly, Mika is a dangerous threat out on the break.

Offensively, Mika is a very traditional center. He likes to go down in the paint and take the physical contact. One might even call him a bruiser, which is pretty rare these days among big men. Mika has been working quite hard on developing a post game and has gotten comfortable working down there. He tends to use fakes and jukes to get his defender up in the air and create an easy shot for himself. Mika has also added a fadeaway from the post to shoot over defenders that could be taller than him.

At the basket, Mika has an excellent feel for the ball. He understands angles and knows how to get himself in position for the best shot possible. If there is some defensive presence around him, he can power through the contact and still finish at the rim. That is thanks to his strong upper body and his ability to explode off the floor and to the rim. That kind of strength also draws a lot of fouls at the rim and will mean that Mika will shoot a lot of free throws at the NCAA level. Mika’s great stroke also extends out to the mid range where he can make shots on a fairly consistent basis provided he has an open look at the bucket.

From an effort standpoint, Mika shows a great motor and a very high compete level. He wants to win and will do anything to lead his team to one. His coach says that when he sat out for a year, he worked extremely hard in practice and continued that work after practice was done in order to get better. His efforts paid off when he won a state championship and at BYU, he should hopefully continue that hard work. Where Mika’s hustle pays off the most is on the offensive boards. He uses his great athleticism and strength to gather a lot of second opportunities and is usually able to put them back with easy dunks.


While athletic, Mika’s lateral movement is slow and his footwork in the post could use some work. Defensively, those things will hurt him in a couple of ways. On the pick and roll, Mika will probably struggle early on, especially if the Cougars want to switch on picks at the top of the perimeter. Matched up with a quicker guard, Mika will get into foul trouble trying to keep up with his defender. In the post, Mika will need to improve his footwork and positioning so that he can defend it better. Otherwise he will be giving up a lot of easy opportunities to his opponents, a lot of whom will be more polished than Mika, especially earlier on.

While Mika works hard and hustles, defensive boards do not seem to come as easily to him as they should. Whether it’s a case of being out-muscled by his opponent or Mika not being able to read where the ball is going to go, he will need to do some work in practice to get better at grabbing free balls. The BYU Cougars will be counting on him to end offensive possessions for the other team and he cannot allow too many offensive rebounds to go against him.

On the offensive end, Mika shows a lot of potential for growth but is also a little limited at the moment. As he develops, Mika will need to learn how to use his size more to his advantage. Sometimes he can be matched up with small defenders and still won’t attack his man. His coach will have to get him into a more aggressive mentality. Once he gets to a level where he attacks the rim at all opportunities, Mika could be a very scary inside scorer.

Relating to his aggressiveness, while Mika likes to pump fake in the post, he should also start using his first move more often. Currently, he likes to fake almost 100% of the time and defenders in the NCAA will pick up on that thanks to game tape. Once they realize that, they will stop biting on fakes and it will be a lot harder for Mika to get an easy scoring opportunity.

What to expect at BYU:

Whether or not Mika instantly becomes a starter once he gets to the Cougars campus, Mika will have an instant impact on his team. A center of his skill set is a rare thing in today’s basketball world and his ability to impact the game from the post will be very valuable. This is especially true offensively where he will be able to score in the post and draw double teams to create easier shots for his teammates.

Once he gets used to the higher caliber of play that is the NCAA, Mika should be on the best offensive rebounders and inside scorers in the nation and should give BYU a good chance at making a strong run in the NCAA tournament.

While his size and skill set could make him a candidate to bolt for the NBA after only one year, it is not likely because of his school. Odds are not high that he would have attended BYU if he knew he would be leaving after only a single season, Cougars fans should expect Mika to stick around a few years. That is great news for their chances of a successful season.