Freshmen recruits hope to make big impact for BYU basketball

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Two freshmen recruits will join the BYU men’s basketball team for the 2013–14 season and continue to build on its successful program.

Lone Peak star Eric Mika and Wisconsin native Luke Worthington hope to make an impact in the post to fill the void left by BYU senior Brandon Davies. Mika and Worthington, who are both 6 feet 9 inches tall, love to compete around the rim and be a physical presence in the paint.

BYU made an offer to Mika his junior year and he expressed his excitement on Twitter following his commitment to BYU on Dec. 16, 2011.

Lone Peak's Eric Mika takes a shot in last Thursday's game against Lehi.
Lone Peak’s Eric Mika takes a shot in a game against Lehi. (Photo by Elliott Miller)

“Well … it’s official … BYU basketball offered a scholarship and I committed! Gonna be a Coug with my boys (Nick Emery and T.J. Haws),” Mika tweeted.

Mika sat out as a transfer student during his junior season at Lone Peak, but came back to make a statement his senior year. He recently led the Knights to the Class 5A title and was named the Deseret News Tournament MVP as he finished with 16 points and 18 rebounds. He and his fellow teammates also led Lone Peak to become the No. 1 high school basketball team in the nation.

“Mika is a wide body post that is physical and tough,” detailed ESPN’s scouting report. “He runs the floor well and is a terrific area rebounder on both ends of the floor. He is athletic and strong enough to finish above the rim through contact.”

Mika averaged a double-double his senior year with  20.4 points and 11.6 rebounds per game and is ready to do whatever is asked of him at BYU.

“I don’t know how they’re going to put me in their system, but I know we play similar to them, so I’m just ready to do whatever Coach Rose needs me to do,” Mika said earlier this year. “I’m just going to work my hardest. Every time I watch them, I get really excited, especially the younger guys.”

Mika will protect the paint alongside Worthington, who loves to run the floor, but sets himself apart from other players because of his ability to do the “dirty work” and be a physical presence.

“Worthington is a big and physical low-post player that is tough and competes,” ESPN’s scouting report said. “He runs the floor extremely well for his size and scores in and around the lane with drop steps and drop off passes.”

BYU was impressed with Worthington’s play in the Amateur Athletic Union Tournament in July and made an official offer, but BYU wasn’t the only school scouting Worthington. He received offers from Butler, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania and Davidson, but immediately put BYU near the top of his list — ahead of 35 different offers.

“It took a lot of thinking and looking at schools to finally decide where I wanted to go,” Worthington said. “After looking at BYU and the balance between academics and athletics and the overall atmosphere there, I just thought I’d be most comfortable out there.”

Touring BYU’s campus with Coach Rose and the assistant coaches also contributed to Worthington’s excitement. As they toured, Worthington “got a good feeling and went with it.” He hopes to bring solid rebounding, which has been a struggle for BYU this year, and also contribute with scoring and anchoring a solid defense.

“I really hope I can contribute in my first year,” Worthington said. “I think I proved myself against some of the better players in the nation over my last AAU season and hopefully I can bring that to BYU.”

BYU will lose Brandon Davies, Brock Zylstra and Craig Cusick, who’ve made an impact on the young team that will return with two freshmen recruits who hope to fill the void. Returning captain Tyler Haws is learning and gaining experience from his sophomore season, but is also looking forward to BYU’s future basketball program.

“We’re a young team and we’re getting lots of experience,” Haws said. “The future is definitely bright.”

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