Last Friday, Utah Accompaniment centermost Neemias Queta had 11 credibility and 13 rebounds to advance the Mountain West arch Aggies to their eighth beeline victory. At the aforementioned time, Queta additionally set the USU’s best almanac for blocks, with 156.
“We don’t do that actual often; we don’t allocution a lot about alone awards,” USU arch drillmaster Craig Smith told the Deseret News from Salt Lake City, Utah’s oldest circadian newspaper, afterwards the Aggies baffled New Mexico in Lubbock, Texas, by a acceptable 82-46 margin.
“But (Queta) has absolutely becoming it, and no one was happier than all of his teammates,” he added.
The antecedent mark had been set by Gilbert Pete, who played at Utah Accompaniment from 1986-89. But Queta bare alone 69 games, while Pete was at USU for 117 games.
“Not abiding what took him so connected to breach this record,” Smith joked. “But it absolutely is amazing aback you anticipate about the history of Utah Accompaniment basketball and our affluent tradition. We’ve had absurd players arise through actuality — and I don’t apperceive all of the names — but it’s incredible. And for him to do this in such a abbreviate aggregate of time on acceptable teams, I anticipate that says so abundant about him.”
Although the name does not advance it, Neemias Esdras Barbosa Queta was built-in in Barreiro, a boondocks on the added ancillary of the arch that leads to Lisbon, the country’s capital. His parents, Mica and Dyaneuba Queta, were built-in in Guinea-Bissau, a above Portuguese colony.
Because he is 7 anxiety tall, Neemias began arena basketball at age 10 and started with bounded club F.C. Barreirense. Aback he angry 17, Neemias confused to S.L. Benfica, one of Portugal’s top clubs, and played two amateur in his admission season.
By then, he was already a standout affiliate of Portugal’s adolescence civic teams. In the 2017 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship Analysis B, Neemias averaged 10.2 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per bold in the eight amateur played.
He connected his acceleration in 2019, as he led Portugal to the gold badge at the 2019 FIBA U20 European Championship Analysis B in Matosinhos, Portugal. Unfortunately, a knee abrasion agape him out of the final, but Neemias still accomplished with absorbing numbers — 14.3 points, 11.0 rebounds, and two blocks per bold — that landed him in the All-Tournament team.
Those performances began to draw the absorption of scouts from Civic Basketball Association (NBA) teams. But he additionally retained his bookish accommodation so he abdicate S.L. Benfica and agreed to accompany the Utah Accompaniment Aggies in Salt Lake City.
Neemias explained that he chose Utah because of the affirmation of the coaches, who contacted him regularly.
“It showed me how abundant they capital me and it was accessible to choose,” Neemias said during an account with Portuguese bi-weekly O Expresso. “They accord you a scholarship. They accord you a room, aliment and a account allowance to course you over.”
“We are captivated that Neemias is abutting the Aggie family,” Smith said at the time. “Neemias is a actual accomplished amateur and a absurd person. He fits our ability in that he loves actuality in the gym, has a amazing admiration to win, and is a agitating teammate. Neemias anon brings length, athleticism, and rim aegis to the Aggies, while he continues to advance his abhorrent game.”
Smith was right. His appulse was immediate.
On Nov. 19, 2018, Neemias set a career aerial with 24 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 blocks in an 80–63 win over Saint Mary’s to advance the Aggies to the semifinals of the MGM Capital Event at T-Mobile Arena.
“We had a appealing acceptable game. We played absolutely acceptable defense. Our breach was absolutely good. We kept alive at our strengths, and we concluded up with a acceptable alley win for our record,” Neemias said afterwards the game.
On Feb. 5, 2019, afterwards he angry in 18 points, 15 rebounds and four blocks in the 82-81 win at Fresno State, the accolades began to cycle in.
“He’s a amount in there,” Fresno Accompaniment arch drillmaster Justin Hutson told the Deseret News.
“We capital try to do as abounding aerial brawl screens as accessible to accumulate him abroad from the rim, and he still got aback there and not alone did he block some shots, but he afflicted a lot of others.”
In the aforementioned article, biographer Jeff Hunter said that Neemias “is already arguably the best rim protector the Utah Accompaniment basketball affairs has anytime had.”
The stats at the end of his aboriginal analysis were appealing impressive, as he set a academy single-season almanac for blocks, with 84, and was called Mountain West Apprentice of the Year, Mountain West Arresting Amateur of the Year and USBWA all-district VIII.
A knee abrasion affected Neemias to absence the aboriginal nine amateur of his green season, but he still played able-bodied abundant to be called to both the Additional Aggregation All-Mountain West and the conference’s Arresting Team.
But the COVID-19 communicable voided the March Madness post-season clash and dealt a astringent abstract to Neemias’ affairs to allure abundant absorption to be advised a NBA abstract candidate.
He additionally fabricated the difficult accommodation to abide in Utah, rather than acknowledgment to Portugal, to absorb time with his family, fearing that the biking restrictions acquired by the communicable would arrest his affairs to acknowledgment to the US and adapt for the abutting affiliate in his career.
“I saw it as a need,” Queta said. “It’s a cede I had to accomplish in adjustment to become better. It was account it.”
The time off from the cloister accustomed him to aggregate up, and additionally absolutely adjust the knee that had agitated him during his green season.
“I aloof feel assured every time I go up,” Queta said recently. “Because of my wingspan and my vertical and how big I am — and my timing too — I aloof feel appealing acceptable whenever I go up to go get blocks. I feel like I’ve got a acceptable adventitious of either deflecting it, or at atomic authoritative them shoot over the top of me, and that’s not an accessible shot.”
There was additionally some allocution that Neemias would acknowledge for the NBA draft, which was pushed aback to November because of the pandemic, but the Portuguese centermost absitively to adjourn that decision.
“My dream has consistently been to comedy in NBA, but now is not the appropriate time to acknowledge for the Draft,” Queta wrote in a bulletin on Twitter. “We accept connected to anatomy a abundant affairs actuality at Utah Accompaniment and it is one that I am actual appreciative of representing.”
“I aloof absitively that it wasn’t the appropriate time,” Queta added. “So I aloof absitively to arise aback and try to win afresh and aloof try to advance and prove anybody wrong.”
It appears that Neemias fabricated the appropriate accommodation because his bold has improved.
“I anticipate the better bound that [Queta] has fabricated this year is aloof the way he sees the game,” inferior advanced Justin Bean said recently. “He’s consistently been absolutely talented. He’s consistently put in assignment in the gym. But this year he’s absolutely aloof bound in to what teams are activity to do to him… He’s aloof seeing the bold a lot differently, abnormally on the abhorrent end.”
“One on one, he’s absolutely adamantine to stop,” added chief advanced Alphonso Anderson. “And afresh aback he’s dishing out aback they do try to bifold him and [he] make[s] plays for others, it’s aloof a mismatch. So aback we augment the brawl to him, acceptable things happen.”
Neemias additionally seems to accept that he fabricated the appropriate accommodation by blockage at Utah State.
“I feel 100% honestly,” Queta said. “I don’t anticipate I accept any limitations compared to aftermost year. I aloof feel good. My anatomy feels absolutely good. I feel like I’m in a acceptable accompaniment of mind, too.”
And the NBA scouts arise to be noticing.
“Neemias has been on the NBA alarm aback his apprentice year,” said Utah Accompaniment abettor drillmaster Eric Peterson. “If he charcoal advantageous this year, the sky is the limit. His size, skill, IQ and arresting attendance are the capital affidavit that NBA teams are afterward his development.”
Diogo Brito, a above abettor at Utah Accompaniment who is currently with Ourense, a additional analysis Spanish team, believes that Neemias has all the accoutrement to become the aboriginal Portuguese amateur to accomplish the NBA.
“I anticipate so, I achievement so and if he does not, I will be absolutely disappointed,” Brito said.
“He’s been putting [in] the work. I anticipate he has every apparatus to be a actual acceptable amateur in the NBA.”
Sports Illustrated NBA abstract cabal Jeremy Woo said afresh that “Neemias is absolutely trending in a absolute direction.”
“The injuries affectionate of adjourned some of his momentum, but now that he’s got the knee brace off and has been able to cord some amateur together, I would say he’s aback on clue to arise out and get drafted, abnormally if they [the Aggies] accomplishment strong,” he said.
The Aggies are benumbed that eight bold acceptable band and are best in the Mountain West Conference, so Neemias Queta will acceptable accept a adventitious to comedy in the March Madness Tournament, area he will get a attempt at advocacy his affairs to accomplish it to the NBA.
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