BYU basketball signs five preps; three will go on church missions before enrolling
Better late (at night) than never, right? As the first day of the early signing period for basketball was winding down Wednesday, BYU announced that five high school players have signed National Letters of Intent to join the Cougar basketball program. BYU has signed Lone Peak's Nick Emery and Eric Mika; Braiden Shaw of Eagle High in Eagle, Idaho; Jakob Hartsock of Bartlesville High in Bartlesville, Okla., and Luke Worthington of Homestead High in Wisconsin. In a school news release, BYU coach Dave Rose said that Emery, Hartsock and Shaw will go on two-year LDS Church missions before they enroll at BYU in the fall of 2015. Mika and Worthington will play for BYU next season, along with returned missionary Kyle Collinsworth, who returns from Russia next summer. The release doesn't mention whether Mika or Worthington are planning on missions, but Mika has said on his Twitter account that he is considering one. By all indications, another player that BYU is heavily recruiting, Chicago prep superstar Jabari Parker, will not sign during this period and will sign in April. Parker has told various outlets that he will commit to a program in either December or January. Parker's father, Sonny, has said Jabari will make his official visit to Provo the weekend of Nov. 24. While in Utah, Jabari Parker is expected to speak at an LDS Church fireside at the Institute Building on the University of Utah campus. Obviously, BYU would make room for the Parker whenever he wants to sign. If my math is correct and the players who are planning on missions still go, 11 scholarships are spoken for in the 2013-14 season, leaving Rose with two more scholarships to hand out. Here's more of the BYU release:"Our staff and current players are extremely excited about this group of student-athletes that have signed today," Rose said. "This class represents a great deal of dedication from our staff. I'm personally grateful for the work our coaches have put in and the trust these players have in us as coaches. With the addition of these players to our program, BYU basketball has a bright future."A local product from Lone Peak High School in Alpine, Utah, Emery is one of the most decorated players in the history of Utah high school basketball and ranked among the top 100 recruits in the nation by ESPN.com (61st) and Scout.com (81st). In three seasons starting for Quincy Lewis at Lone Peak, Emery has led the Knights to back-to-back 5A state titles in 2011 and 2012 and accumulated 1,488 career points and 208 threes. As a junior the 6-foot-2 guard averaged 21.6 points, 3.4 threes, 4.0 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.4 steals while leading Lone Peak to a 22-3 record, the 5A state title and a No. 24 national ranking. During the summers Emery has played for the Utah Reign and for the Salt Lake Metro under Golden Holt, Marty Haws and Dave Hammer."Nick is a prolific scorer with unlimited range," Rose said. "He's an intense competitor on both ends of the floor. Nick always plays on attack and is great off the dribble. He's a winner in everything he does on and off the court. We're excited to have Nick in our program."Hartsock, the younger brother of former Cougar and All-WCC performer Noah Hartsock, plays for Tim Bart at Bartlesville High School in Bartlesville, Okla. As a junior in 2011-12 the 6-foot-7 forward averaged 20 points, seven rebounds and two blocks while shooting .496 from the field, .366 from three and .780 from the free throw line. He earned third-team all-state honors while leading Bartlesville to a 22-4 record and a trip to the 6A Oklahoma state tournament. ESPN.com ranks Hartsock as the No. 55 power forward in the country and the No. 3 recruit in the 2013 class in Oklahoma."Jakob will be a great addition to our program," Rose said. "He's an explosive forward with deep range. He can stretch the defense and finish above the rim. Jakob's midrange game is very similar to his older brother Noah. He has the size and skill level to play and guard multiple positions at the next level."Mika, who will play at Lone Peak this season, is ranked 76th and 72nd among all prospects by ESPN.com and Scout.com, respectively. He is also ranked eighth and 10th among all centers by the same organizations. Mika, 6-foot-9, played his freshman and sophomore seasons at The Waterford School in Salt Lake City. As a sophomore he averaged 17.1 points, 12.2 rebounds and 3.9 blocks and earned first-team all-state honors. He transferred to Lone Peak after his sophomore season and had to sit out last season due to Utah High School Activities Association transfer rules. Mika has played for the Utah Reign travel team and for the Utah Pump-N-Run under John Palica."Erik is rated as one of the top big men in the country," Rose said "More importantly, he is a perfect fit for how we play at BYU. He has the ability to run the floor, attack the rim, and score with his back to the basket. These attributes combined with his great work ethic and his fierce competitiveness will be key to his growth as an individual and the future success and growth of our program."Shaw plays for Tom Seifert at Eagle High School in Eagle, Idaho, and is ranked as the top recruit out of Idaho in the class of 2013 by ESPN.com. As a junior in 2011-12 the 6-foot-8 forward averaged 11 points and eight rebounds and earned 5A All-State Second Team honors from the Idaho Statesman. Shaw also earned All-Southern Idaho Conference honors and SIC All-Academic recognition. Shaw played for the Hoop Dreams Idaho travel team coached by Ed Boyce."We are excited about Braiden," Rose said. "His natural ability fits our program perfectly. He's very skilled, runs the floor very well, is long and athletic and has great basketball instinct."Worthington plays for Ray Curry at Homestead High School and, according to ESPN.com, is ranked No. 47 nationally among power forwards in the class of 2013. Last season the 6-foot-9 forward led Homestead to a 15-5 record while averaging 12 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Worthington plays for the Wisconsin Playground Elite travel team coached by Duane "Ike" Wilson. A two-sport star, Worthington also plays football for Homestead and has led his team to the state championship game, which will be played later this week."Luke played against the top talent in the country all summer long," Rose said. "He proved himself to not only be one of the most fearless and physical big men in the country but also one of the top rebounders. He is blessed with a nose for the ball. As a star lineman for his state champ HS football team he will also certainly add physicality, leadership and more winning attitude to our program for years to come."