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SALT LAKE CITY — Neeimias Queta finished up his first year at Utah State University and excelled with the men’s basketball program.
After a strong first year, Queta made the decision to put in his name for the NBA draft which will occur in June. But after attending the NBA Combine, he announced that he will be returning to Logan for at least one more year.
Queta made the announcement via social media on the team’s Instagram page with a video that ended with him saying the words “Aggie Nation, I’m back.”
"It was a great experience to be involved with the NBA Draft Combine and it really helped me to know where I need to improve,” Queta said in a prepared statement. "We have a really good team coming back and I’m excited to get stronger and get better."
A Barreiro, Portugal, native, Queta is a 6-foot-11 center who was one of only 66 athletes who was invited to the NBA Draft Combine. The event took place in Chicago from May 16-17.
He joined Jalen McDaniel from San Diego State as one of only two players from the Mountain West Conference, and he is the only representative from the state of Utah.
An additional year or more of playing with Utah State will give Queta the experience and coaching that he needs to build up his game for the future. Even though he pulled out of the draft, Queta showed well in the combine, as he matched up with some top talent from across the nation.
"This has been a great process for Neemias. He gained both valuable feedback from NBA personnel and experiences that will help him in the future at Utah State and beyond," head coach Craig Smith said in a statement. "Neemias is a fantastic player, but what sets him apart is his character and what he stands for as a person. I know he loves Utah State University and he can’t wait to get to work."
Queta was also invited to train with the Brooklyn Nets, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and the Milwaukee Bucks, and had the chance to put his name and talents in front of a number of professional teams in the past few weeks.
He also came down to Salt Lake to work out with the Utah Jazz before he went to Chicago. This gave him a chance to shine locally and get some advice before heading to the combine.
Queta appeared as a starting player in each of the Aggie’s 35 games and averaged 11.8 points and per game and 84 blocks over the course of the season.
He was named to Mountain West Freshman Team and Defensive Player of the Year, and helped lead the Aggies to a victory in the Mountain West Championship game, as well as a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
If Queta eventually plays in the NBA, his name could go down in history as the first Portuguese athlete in the NBA; but for now, he will rejoin the team as they look for their second straight Mountain West Championship.