Don't crown the Zags' frontcourt best in the west just yet.
Earlier this week it was announced that Przemek Karnowski would be returning to Gonzaga for his senior season. But he's not the only proven WCC big man coming back to school for 2016-17. Sophomore Eric Mika will provide a major boost for the BYU Cougars, who have boasted less-than-impressive frontcourt play since the 2014 WCC all-Freshman teamer departed for his LDS mission to Italy.
Another missionary, top-100 freshman Payton Dastrup, a 6-foot-10 forward, will also join the Cougars next season. Dastrup, a four-star recruit according to ESPN, Scout and Rivals, will return from his mission to Panama in June.
The Cougars, unlike the Zags, are bringing players back into a fold which already includes a pair of starters from last season in senior Kyle Davis (11.9 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and, once football season wraps up, junior Corbin Kaufusi (5.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg).
Head coach Dave Rose likes his Cougars to play an uptempo, run-and-gun style of offense. Over the past few years they've lit it up with high scoring guards like Tyler Haws, Chase Fischer and Nick Emery. Part of that was by design, but it was also necessity. The Cougars haven't had a big man who could function as the focal point of the offense since Brandon Davies graduated in 2013. Both Davis and Mika have played one season in Provo, during which each ranked fourth on the team in scoring.
This could be the year that BYU goes back to the big man.
With Mika and Davis starting alongside each other BYU is back in the conversation for best frontcourt in the WCC. Throw in their reserves, Dastrup and bruising center Corbin Kaufusi, and you could make a case that they're simply the best. Three of those four have been starters for the majority, if not entirety of their BYU careers. And the fourth is a top-100 recruit.