Eric Mika petitioning the NCAA to return for final year of eligibility

The former Cougar great left before his senior year and hopes to make a return to BYU.

Eric Mika has recently spent time playing with the NBA G-League Ignite
Eric Mika has recently spent time playing with the NBA G-League Ignite / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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Let's face it: Eric Mika's early departure from BYU didn't yield the results anyone had hoped for. Mika joined BYU as the highest-rated recruit of the famed "Lone Peak 3", a trio of recruits from Lone Peak High School who were all ESPN Top 100 recruits and carried the weight of great expectations for BYU's basketball program.

The Lone Peak 3 era of BYU hoops didn't yield any conference championships or deep NCAA Tournament runs, though it brought some of my greatest memories of BYU basketball. Who could forget when the Cougs took down the #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs in Spokane--the same team that would later make a run to the NCAA Championship game? (Still crazy that BYU was the de facto runner-up that year)

Eric Mika announced at the end of the 2017 season that he'd be foregoing his Senior season at BYU in favor of going pro and pursuing a career in the NBA. It wasn't hard to imagine that Mika could have a career in the NBA following his high school career which placed him 28th in his high school class. It was a bit harder to see his potential at the world's highest level of basketball.

Tai Webster, Eric Mika
Mika defends against the Perth Wildcats of the NBL / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Well, after appearing in one NBA game, Mika spent most of his career overseas and in the NBA G-League. He didn't make a big enough impact to impress NBA executives who were watching his Ignite team for the younger draft prospects who populated the majority of the roster, and announced on Monday, April 1 that he'd be returning to BYU to complete his final season of eligibility.

"The best years of my career was while I was a BYU Cougar," the 6'9" center told reporter April Fulstein, "Now that they found a place in the Big 12, I'd like to get back in the game."

Following the death of the NBA G-League Ignite, Mika has been left to find a new place in the world of basketball. What better way to make himself stand out to NBA scouts than by being the oldest collegiate basketball player in the nation?

"Almost everyone is getting NIL deals these days," Mika continued, "I'm certain that I'd make more money playing at BYU than I ever would in the G-League. 6'9" centers are much more valuable in college hoops than in the pros."

What an announcement to begin the month of April for Cougar fans! While the Cougars are already loaded at his position, fans should look forward to seeing Mika's experience improving BYU's chances at a conference title.

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