BYU's Mika, Utah's Kuzma declare for NBA Draft, keep college eligibility

Wednesday , March 22, 2017 - 5:48 PM

BRETT HEIN, Standard-Examiner Staff

BYU basketball sophomore Eric Mika declared entry into the 2017 NBA Draft but will maintain his college eligibility, the school announced Wednesday. His announcement came a day after Utah forward Kyle Kuzma told several media outlets he, too, has declared for the draft.

At 22, Mika is older than most college sophomores by virtue of serving an LDS mission to Italy.

“I have every intention of pursuing this opportunity with the hope of impressing NBA teams,” Mika said in a statement from BYU. “I will work hard over the next several weeks to put myself in a position to be drafted. I’m optimistic about my chances.”

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The 6-foot-10 center, who would likely play forward as a pro, averaged 20.3 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game as a sophomore.

“I wouldn't be entering my name, I wouldn't be making a big deal about it if I wasn't expecting to do well and get drafted,” Mika told the Salt Lake Tribune.

Kuzma, a 6-foot-9 junior, averaged 16.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and shot 50.4 percent from the field for the Utes in the 2016-17 season.

At 21, the versatile Kuzma will look to wow the right teams in hopes of keeping Utah’s NBA Draft streak going — Delon Wright was selected in 2015 and Jakob Poeltl in 2016.

“I’m just going through the process right now. I don’t have a reason why I want to leave or a reason why I want to stay,” Kuzma said Tuesday on ESPN 700 radio, as reported by the Deseret News. “It’s just feeling things out and going with the flow and trying to decide what’s best for all parties.”

Story continues below photo.

The players maintain their amateur status by not hiring an agent. They can work out with NBA teams as early as April 25 and, if invited, can participate in the NBA Draft Combine May 9-14.

With a recent shift in draft rules, early-entry players can explore their stock and receive feedback from NBA scouts through workouts and the combine before making a final draft decision.

Kuzma currently appears at No. 73 in DraftExpress’ Top 100 list for the 2017 draft. Mika is not on the list.

The deadline to withdraw from the draft and remain eligible to return to school is May 24. This year’s draft is June 22.

Contact Brett Hein at bhein@standard.net, follow him on Twitter @bhein3 and find him at facebook.com/brettheinwrites.

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