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Utah State’s Neemias Queta will leave school, enter NBA draft

Utah State center Neemias Queta looks back at an official
Utah State center Neemias Queta looks back at an official during USU’s 94-56 win over San Jose State on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020, at the Spectrum in Logan. Queta will skip his senior season and enter the NBA draft, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported on Monday.
Jeff Hunter, For the Deseret News

On the heels of a strong junior season and the departure of head coach Craig Smith to the Utah Utes, Utah State Aggies center Neemias Queta will skip his senior season in Logan and enter the NBA draft.

ESPN’s Jonathan Givony reported Monday that Queta would be doing so, and Queta later announced it himself on social media.

Givony reported that Queta will hire an agent, meaning he would not be able to remove his name from the draft and return to school.

“I’m declaring for the draft because I feel ready to take my game to the next level and fulfilling a lifelong dream of being an NBA player,” Queta told Givony.

The 7 foot, 245-pound Queta, a native of Portugal, entered his name in the draft after a strong freshman season in 2019 before returning to school. This season as a junior, he averaged 14.9 points, 10.1 rebounds, 3.3 blocks and 2.7 assists per game for a Utah State team that made the NCAA Tournament.

His block average was third in the country, and he was named Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year for the second time in his collegiate career (he also won it as a freshman). He is also one of four finalists for national defensive player of the year.

“I really want to show my all-around game as more than a rim runner and prove what my potential can be,” Queta told Givony.

Even during his introductory press conference at Utah last weekend, Smith said he feels Queta will get drafted, although the big man currently is ESPN’s 75th-ranked prospect for this year.