There is a teenage freshman making some waves in the western state of Utah by the name of Neemias Queta. Queta, at just 19 years old, is already being backed by some to break into the NBA so let’s delve into the details: who is Neemias Queta?
In 1999, Queta was born in the Portuguese town of Barreiro, which is located on the coast, near the capital of Portugal, Lisbon. Queta has represented his nation at the Under 18 and Under 20 European championships and played the 2017-18 season for Benfica before heading to Utah to major in Journalism.
His record in the Under 20 Championships for Portugal was somewhat noteworthy as he was the second highest point scorer on the team with a game average of 14.3, he was top of his sides rankings for collecting rebounds with 10.3 per game and headed the tournament for blocks registering an average of 2.9. Despite Portugal finishing the competition in ninth position, out of 22, Queta ended up ranked third in the ‘efficiency per game’ ratings behind Akbar Mammadov of Azerbaijan and, number one ranked Latvian, Arturs Strautins.
The Aggies identified ‘Neemi’, as he’s known by his teammates, following some strong performances in the Portugal youth teams and they were taken aback by just how good he was on his arrival. Standing 6 foot 11, 240 pounds and with a wingspan of 7’4 he’s got tremendous physical attributes but listening to him talk it’s clear he’s a down to earth guy with his feet firmly planted to the ground and those personality traits were immediately noticed by his school peers and coaching staff but don’t be fooled, having good values doesn’t mean he’s not a man with a mission and he’s confident in his ability whilst also acknowledging he’s not the finished article – a good combination. It was his dream to play Basketball and that means he’s targeting the NBA and his coach, Craig Smith, backs him to make it with his ‘driven’ mentality being the main factor to separate him from the rest.
Utah currently sits second, behind Nevada in the Mountain West Conference and Queta has been pivotal to their success so far. Playing center, his athleticism allows him to affect the game at both ends of the court and nothing displays this better than the play he made against Colorado State when he completed a steal before racing downcourt to score at the other end. His teammates look to youngster Queta as a safety net due to his competitive mindset and the stats back it up. In the MWC, he’s third in the rankings for rebounds collected, on average, 9 per game – that’s 252 rebounds overall with a split of 67 offensive and 185 defensive grabs. In addition to that, he stands head and shoulders above all other players on the blocking stats with a whopping 70 in the season, that’s a Utah school record and 28 more than the closest challenger, Nate Grimes of Fresno State and those figures combine to give Neemi the best defensive rating in the league with an 86.5 score.
Defensively, Queta is somewhat of a man mountain but there is more to his game than keeping the ball out. He holds the second highest 2-point field goal conversion in the conference – Trey Porter of Nevada is first – with an impressive .645% return, which has landed him 131 baskets, putting him ranked 6th. Despite the impressive numbers, Queta is clear on where he wants to mature his game and don’t be surprised to see those forward plays improve as time progresses.
The NBA is a hard level to break into but the Aggies aren’t expecting to hang on to Queta for too long and, if he does make it, he’ll become the first ever Portuguese to play in the NBA, which will make it all the more satisfying and you can be assured he’ll have the whole nation cheering on his charge to greatness.