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Utah State’s Neemias Queta taken by Sacramento Kings in NBA draft

Utah State center Neemias Queta dunks againist New Mexico’s Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in Logan, Utah.
Utah State center Neemias Queta dunks againist New Mexico’s Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019, in Logan, Utah.
Eli Lucero/Herald Journal, AP

Utah State big man Neemias Queta has officially made history.

Queta was taken by the Sacramento Kings with the 39th pick in the 2021 NBA draft on Thursday, making him the first-ever native of Portugal to be drafted.

Measured at 7 feet and 245 pounds, Queta played three seasons at Utah State and was twice named the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

As a junior during the 2020-2021 season, Queta averaged 14.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.3 blocks, 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals per game.

Queta tested the NBA waters after his freshman season before struggling at the NBA Draft Combine and returning to school. This year, he excelled at the Combine, and many figured that boosted his draft stock.

Queta becomes the second player in as many years from Utah State to be drafted after Sam Merrill was the last player chosen in 2020. The school hadn’t had a draft pick before that since 1986.