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BYU’s Matt Haarms, Utah State’s Neemias Queta named to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award watch list

San Diego State’s Yanni Wetzell (5) drives as Utah State’s Neemias Queta (23) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game for the Mountain West Conference men’s tournament championship Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Las Vegas.
Isaac Brekken, Associated Press

BYU newcomer Matt Haarms and Utah State’s Neemias Queta are two of 20 players in the country who were named to the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award watch list announced Friday.

The award, now in its seventh year of existence, is given annually to the nation’s top collegiate center.

The 7-foot-3 Haarms, a graduate transfer from Purdue, averaged 8.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks (fifth in the Big Ten) last season for the Boilermakers. He started 40 games over three seasons for Purdue and has 210 career blocks with a 58.2% career field goal percentage.

BYU center Matt Haarms laughs while being interviewed during first day of practice on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2020.
Nate Edwards, BYU photo

The 7-foot Queta made the Abdul-Jabbar Award watch list for the second straight year. Despite missing 12 games last year, Queta finished the 2019-20 season averaging 13 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, while also blocking 38 shots, including a Mountain West-best 1.7 during league play. The junior needs just 33 more blocked shots to tie the USU all-time mark of 155 career blocks.

The winner of the 2021 award will be announced on April 9, along with the winner of the Bob Cousy Point Guard Award, the Jerry West Shooting Guard Award, the Julius Erving Small Forward Award and the Karl Malone Power Forward Award, in addition to the Women’s Starting Five.

Former Utah big man Jakob Poeltl won the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award in 2016.