Neemias Queta leaving USU, pursuing NBA dreams

BLOOMINGTON, IN - MARCH 19: Neemias Queta #23 of the Utah State Aggies attempts to block a shot during the first round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament against Texas Tech Red Raiders held at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on March 19, 2021 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Ben Solomon/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)*** Local Caption *** Neemias Queta

LOGAN – After three illustrious seasons at Utah State and multiple honors from the Mountain West Conference, Neemias Queta has announced he is leaving the university to pursue his dream of playing in the NBA. Queta made the announcement on Twitter Monday afternoon while also declaring “Forever a Aggie!!!”

Queta’s announcement comes two days after former men’s basketball coach Craig Smith announced he would be leaving the program as well to become the next head coach at the University of Utah. The announcement from Queta quashes any rumor or speculation that he might follow Craig Smith to the Utes.

“Coming from Portugal to Utah as a 19-year-old young man, I never could’ve expected all of the amazing events that would unfold over the next three year years,” Queta said in a statement. “From winning back-to-back Mountain West championships, two NCAA tournaments and building lifelong friendships along the way, I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Queta has been named as a finalist as the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year in all of college basketball, was named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year by the media, recognized as the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year (twice), and was recognized as an Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American. During his junior year at USU Queta set multiple records, including breaking the single-season Aggie record for blocks with 97 (surpassing his own previous record set his freshman year with 84). Queta’s 97 blocks this season was tops throughout all of the NCAA. Overall, he recorded 219 blocks in an Aggie uniform, smashing the previous record of 155 set by Gilbert Pete from 1986-1989.

“I would like to thank my coaches for believing in me, teaching me and encouraging me to be the best that I can be, everyday,” Queta continued.

Queta recorded a USU single-game-record nine blocks in the Aggies’ 62-50 victory over Colorado State in the Mountain West Tournament semifinals, finishing with a near-triple-double of 18 points, 14 rebounds and nine rejections. He was the only player in the Mountain West Conference this season to average a double-double with 14.9 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. In his final game in an Aggie uniform, Queta scored 11 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, had seven blocks, dished out six assists and had one steal against Texas Tech in the NCAA tournament. It is only the second time in NCAA tournament history that a player has recorded 10+ points, 10+ rebounds, 5+ assists and 5+ blocks since the 1985-86 season.

Queta finishes his career ranked ninth in school history with 764 career rebounds. He also finished second on the team with 31 steals this season and finished third on the team with 77 assists, averaging 2.7 per game and was the only player in the nation this year with 75 or more assists and 95 or more blocks.

“I would like to thank my family and friends in Portugal who have supported me since day one,” Queta added. “I would like to thank all of my teammates who have become my brothers throughout this journey. Most of all I would like to thank God, I am so grateful to Him for putting me in this situation.”

After his freshman season Queta was invited to the NBA draft combine to gauge his prospects of playing at the next level, without affecting his collegiate eligibility.

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