BYU basketball big man Eric Mika has received an invitation to participate in the NBA’s draft combine, according to multiple reports. The event is scheduled to take place May 9-14 in Chicago.
BYU’s own Greg Wrubell was the first to tweet out the news, followed by ESPN reporter Jeff Goodman.
I'm told that BYU's Eric Mika has been invited to the NBA draft combine.— Greg Wrubell (@gregwrubell) April 29, 2017
BYU big man Eric Mika has been invited to the NBA combine.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 29, 2017
This is a positive development for Mika in his efforts to become the first Cougar hoopster drafted since Jimmer Fredette in 2011. If he had not been invited to the combine, most observers would have taken it as a sign that NBA executives — who decide the invite list and make draft day decisions for team — were not keen on his potential at the next level. With this announcement, that doesn’t appear to be the case, which is great news for Eric.
Now, he’ll get what he wanted: the chance to prove his worth to 30 NBA teams, all of which will be watching like hawks (but none more so than the Atlanta Hawks, obviously.) The NBA draft combine is a bit of a meat market. Players are measured and examined and tested, all to determine their potential fit in the world’s best league. There’s also a fair bit of drill and scrimmage work, so Mika will have ample opportunity to make his case to the assembled general managers, scouts and other team executives.
While this is a positive development for Mika’s NBA hopes, it’s also not a guarantee that he won’t be back in Provo next season. An invite to the combine does not mean a player will be drafted. Several players who will likely be back in school next season (like Duke’s Frank Jackson) are on the invite list. And Mika’s late addition — he wasn’t on initial lists that circulated on Friday and early Saturday — suggests he may have been added after top prospects declined to participate, as they traditionally do.
So today’s news is a great next step for Eric Mika’s professional aspirations — but he’s still got plenty of work ahead of him. Now he knows he’ll get the chance to give it a shot.