Every game we play in this conference is going to be physical. It depends on how the refs are going to call it. It seems to be different every game. The calls may be different, but no matter what, you’re going to get hit. We can pretty much expect that. —BYU forward Eric Mika
BYU freshman forward Eric Mika has started 25 games for the Cougars this season and is averaging 13 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest. In November, the former Lone Peak star became the first true freshman to start a season opener for the Cougars since 1998. Mika has scored in double figures in 21 games and tied a BYU freshman record for field goal percentage by hitting 9 of 10 shots against Mount St. Mary's.
After the season, Mika will be leaving for two years to serve a mission for the LDS Church. Deseret News sportswriter Jeff Call asked Mika about his first season as a Cougar, his upcoming mission, and the popular documentary that was made about his senior season at Lone Peak.
Q: You've had a couple of injuries (eye and hip) and you've been able to play in a lot of big games. How would you sum up your freshman season at BYU so far?
A: It’s been fun. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s been really fun getting to know all these guys and the coaches. Every day is a blast. I love it.
Q: The games have been pretty physical. Do you think they will continue to be that way as the season winds down?
A: Every game we play in this conference is going to be physical. It depends on how the refs are going to call it. It seems to be different every game. The calls may be different, but no matter what, you’re going to get hit. We can pretty much expect that.
Q: You are expecting to receive your mission call soon. What are your thoughts on serving a mission?
A: I’m really excited. I’ve been planning on a mission my whole life, so to have the paperwork finally out of my hands feels good and exciting. I’m hoping my call comes (next Wednesday).
Q: Do you have a preference where you'd like to serve?
A: I put that I’d like to learn a language. I took German in high school for four years. I put that I’d like to go out of the country. But I think my dream mission — so basically I’m jinxing it so it won’t happen — is Australia or England. I think it would be cool to speak English and be able to teach right away. I’d like to go foreign.
Q: "The Book of Lone Peak" documentary (recapping the Knights' national championship season a year ago) was recently released. What did you think of it?
A: I think it’s awesome. It’s really well-made and it sends a good message. The people who did it, the Samberg family, is a great family. I had an awesome experience filming it and watching it, too. It’s cool to take a step back and realize what we did last year, which I hadn’t done. The first couple of days it was out it was the No. 1 short film on iTunes. I’ve watched it a bunch of times with my family and they love it.