LOGAN, Utah – Utah State junior Neemias Queta has been named to the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Watch List for the second consecutive year, as announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday. The annual honor recognizes the top centers in men’s college basketball and the initial watch list includes 20 student-athletes from across the nation.
Queta enters the 2020-21 season fully recovered from a knee injury that delayed the start of his 2019-20 campaign. Despite missing the first nine games of the season and 12 games overall, Queta finished the year second on the team in scoring and rebounding with 13.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, respectively. Queta anchored the Utah State defense, totaling a team-best 38 blocks and averaging a league-best 1.7 rejections during Mountain West play. Queta earned second-team all-Mountain West honors and was also named to the Mountain West All-Tournament Team as the Aggies captured their second-straight MW Tournament championship and punched their ticket to the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back years.
Queta burst onto the scene as a freshman, earning MW Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year honors after recording a single-season school record of 84 blocks and averaging 2.4 per contest. Queta finished second on the team with 11.8 points per game and led the team on the glass, pulling down 8.9 rebounds per game. At the end of the year, Queta was named second-team all-Mountain West and was also a member of the Mountain West All-Tournament Team after the Aggies captured the first of back-to-back MW tournament championships.
Queta enters the 2020-21 season in hot pursuit of the all-time blocks record at Utah State, needing just 33 more to tie the all-time mark of 155 after totaling 122 over his first two seasons.
College basketball fans are encouraged to participate in Fan Voting presented by Dell Technologies in each of the three rounds. In late January, the watch list of 20 players for the 2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award will be narrowed down to just 10. In late February, five finalists will be presented to Mr. Abdul-Jabbar and the Hall of Fame’s selection committee.
The winner of the 2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award will be presented on Friday, April 9, 2021.
Previous winners of the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award include Luka Garza, Iowa (2020), Ethan Happ, Wisconsin (2019), Angel Delgado, Seton Hall (2018), Przemek Karnowski, Gonzaga (2017), Jakob Poeltl, Utah (2016) and Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin (2015).
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2021 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award Candidates*
Neemias Queta Utah State
Matt Haarms BYU
Mark Williams Duke
Kofi Cockburn Illinois
Luka Garza Iowa
Olivier Sarr Kentucky
Ahsan Asadullah Lipscomb
Cameron Krutwig Loyola Chicago
Mousa Cisse Memphis
Liam Robbins Minnesota
Armando Bacot North Carolina
Walker Kessler North Carolina
Trevion Williams Purdue
Grant Golden Richmond
Evan Mobley USC
Derek Culver West Virginia
Charles Bassey Western Kentucky
Micah Potter Wisconsin
Loudon Love Wright State
*Players can play their way onto and off of the list at any point in the 2020-2021 season*