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Is Utah State big man Neemias Queta an NBA prospect?

20000101 Utah State freshman center Neemias Queta celebrates after a blocked shot resulted in a jump ball and an Aggie possession late in USU’s win over Wyoming on Feb. 13.
Utah State center Neemias Queta celebrates after a blocked shot resulted in a jump ball and an Aggie possession late in USU’s win over Wyoming on Feb. 13, 2019. Queta has been a force this season as the Aggies have tried to build a case for an NCAA Tournament bid, but is the big man from Portugal an NBA prospect?
Jeff Hunter

Utah State Aggies junior center Neemias Queta has been a force this season as the Aggies have tried to build a case for an NCAA Tournament bid, but is the big man from Portugal an NBA prospect?

On Friday, The Athletic’s John Hollinger, who previously worked in the Memphis Grizzlies’ front office, wrote a piece detailing seven “undervalued NBA draft prospects,” and Queta topped the list.

Hollinger noted how Queta was seen as a potential first-round pick in 2019 after his freshman season at Utah State but that he’s fallen off the NBA radar a great deal since then. However, Hollinger writes, “He’s been awesome this year,” pointing to the fact that Queta leads the Mountain West Conference in a bunch of advanced stats.

“The eye test shows an improved player who has developed an array of moves on the low block,” Hollinger added, also observing that Queta “is the only major college player in the last decade to average at least 2.5 assists and 2.5 blocks per game.

“Yes, this is a random combination of two stats, but in his case, it underscores a larger truth: You don’t see shot-blocking fives who can distribute like this. Queta has become a legitimately good passer, to the point that opponents are rewriting the previous strategy of always double-teaming him on the block.”

Hollinger conceded that Queta “is more of an old-school five” and might not be able to defend in space very well, but, “Right now he’s the star of my ‘undervalued draft guys’ list.”