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Neemias Queta measures out as biggest player at NBA draft combine

Utah State center Neemias Queta (23) protects the ball during the first half of a first round game against Texas Tech in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Friday, March 19, 2021, at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind.

Utah State center Neemias Queta (23) protects the ball during the first half of a first round game against Texas Tech in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament, Friday, March 19, 2021, at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind. (Doug McSchooler, Associated Press)



LOGAN — If he has nothing else going for him, former Utah State center Neemias Queta has one thing, as determined by the NBA draft combine: He's the biggest player available.

Literally.

Queta measured out standing at a confirmed 7 feet, 1/2 inch with shoes — the tallest among the 69 players selected to the combine in Chicago. His shoeless mark of 6 feet, 11.5 inches also ranks top among all prospects.

Not every player available in the draft was invited to the NBA combine, and this year's event also competed with a G League invitational camp that also took some of the top prospects. But Queta's marks are still significant when compared with the top prospects available, including most of the top bigs. He was the only player from the state of Utah invited to the combine.

Beyond that, Queta put in some impressive numbers through the measurement portion of the combine, which were released Tuesday morning.

He's the third-heaviest prospect at the combine at 248.4 pounds, but ranks fourth-lowest among centers at 7.60% body fat. For whatever it's worth, that's a lower body fat index than point guard prospect Daishen Nix (11.80%) who played for the G League Ignite last year, and UCLA guard Johnny Juzang (8.00%), the former Kentucky transfer.

Queta had the widest hands at the combine at 10.50 inches, tied with former Duke forward and five-star recruit Jalen Johnson. The 7-foot center from Portugal also topped the combine with a 7-foot, 4-inch wingspan and a 9-foot, 4.5-inch standing reach.

The weeklong combine also includes interviews between prospects and NBA teams, as well as five-on-five scrimmages and shooting, strength and agility drills. The five-on-five scrimmages will be broadcast Thursday on ESPN2 from 1-5 p.m. MT, as well as Friday on ESPNU.

NBA mock drafts remain fluid in June, with four teams still alive in the playoffs. But Queta remains in strong second-round contention, with a mock projection as high as No. 22 to the Houston Rockets by Yahoo's Krysten Peek and as low as No. 57 by Bleacher Report's Johnathan Wasserman. NBA Draft Room projects Queta to go No. 50 overall to the Philadelphia 76ers and USA Today pegs the former Aggie at No. 45 to the Boston Celtics.

"With his size and college productivity, he might have been a lottery pick a decade ago," writes Chad Forde of NBA big board. "His rebounding, shot-blocking and assist numbers are all really intriguing. He doesn't have the quickest feet, which could limit his defensive versatility, but there are so many positives that he deserves a look in the late first round."

Of course, Queta is more than big, too.

A two-time Mountain West defensive player of the year, Queta finished his three-year Aggie career with three consecutive NCAA Tournament bids and two appearances after the 2020 tournament was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic. He departs as the all-time leader with 219 blocked shots and 2.5 blocks per game, and ranked in the top-10 in field-goal percentage (.594), double-doubles (30), games with 10 or more rebounds (37), rebounds (777) and rebounds per game (9.0).

His 1,113 career points ranks 29th in program history.

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