Neemias Queta named National Defensive Player of the Year by Bleacher Report

Utah State center Neemias Queta (23) blocks the shot of San Diego State forward Nathan Mensah (31) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP, Pool)

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State junior center Neemias Queta has been named the National Defensive Player of the Year by BleacherReport.com, one of eight national awards announced by the organization on Monday.

Wyoming guard Kenny Foster (22) gets his shot blocked by Utah State center Neemias Queta (23) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, March 4, 2021, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP, Pool)

Queta is one of only two players in the NCAA since the 1992-93 season to average more than 14.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steals per game during the regular season. Queta finished the 2020-21 campaign leading the Mountain West with 9.9 rebounds per game and also led the league with 3.0 blocks per game.

Behind Queta’s rebounding and defense, Utah State finished the regular season second in the nation in defensive rebounding percentage, eighth in 2-point field goal percentage defense and 11th in block percentage. The only other team in the country in the top-50 in all three categories at the end of the regular season was Memphis, but the Tigers were 33rd in 2-point field goal percentage defense and 38th in defensive rebounding percentage.

When looking at the individual advanced analytics, Queta is fourth in the nation in block percentage and 20th in defensive rebounding percentage.

Utah State center Neemias Queta (23) blocks the shot of San Diego State forward Joshua Tomaic during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP, Pool)

Queta, named Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year by Mountain West media earlier on Monday, is fourth in the nation with 75 total blocks this year and fifth in the nation with 3.0 blocks per game. However, his offensive game has also spoken for itself over the last few games, as he has recorded a double-double in each of the last six contests, averaging 21.8 points and 12.5 rebounds.

Utah State opens its back-to-back MW Tournament title defense on Thursday, March 11, at 7 p.m. (MT), facing the winner of #7 UNLV and #10 Air Force in the quarterfinals. A victory would move the Aggies on to the semifinals on Friday, March 12, at 10 p.m. (MT). Both of those games can be seen on the CBS Sports Network (Xfinity Ch. 269/753 HD, Dish Ch. 158, DirevTV Ch. 221), while the MW Championship game will be on CBS on Saturday, March 13, at 4 p.m. (MT).

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