LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – It is the news Utah State basketball fans had been hoping to hear — Neemias Queta is returning to the Aggies for his sophomore season.
Queta announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he is withdrawing his name from the NBA Draft and will return to Utah State. will be returning for the 2019-20 season, making the Aggies a sure-fire preseason top-25 team.
“It was a great experience to be involved with the NBA Draft combine and it really helped me to know where I need to improve,” Queta said. “We have a really good team coming back and I’m excited to get stronger and get better.”
Queta was named the Mountain West Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year in 2018-19 after shattering the single-season blocks record at USU and helping the Aggies to their first appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 2011. Queta finished the year with 84 blocks, far surpassing the previous school record of 59, set by Shawn Daniels during the 2000-01 season. Queta led the Mountain West and finished 14th in the nation with 2.4 blocks per contest. He started the year with at least one block in 29 straight games, the longest such streak in Utah State history, and recorded at least one rejection in all but one game during the year. Queta recorded a season-high six blocks in two games this season, matching the third-most blocks in a game in Utah State history and setting a Mountain West freshman record.
In addition to his defense, Queta finished second on the team with 11.8 points per game and led the team with 8.9 rebounds per game. Queta scored in double figures in 24 games and logged a team-best 10 double-doubles during the year.
“This has been a great process for Neemias,” Utah Stat head coach Craig Smith said. “He gained both valuable feedback from NBA personnel and experiences that will help him in the future at Utah State and beyond. Neemias is a fantastic player, but what sets him apart is his character and what he stands for as a person. I know he loves Utah State University and he can’t wait to get to work.”
Queta will be one of four starters returning for Utah State in 2019-20, including Mountain West Player of the Year Sam Merrill, who led the Aggies with 20.9 points, 4.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Other returners include guards Brock Miller and Abel Porter. Miller finished second on the team last year with 70 3-point field goals, the second-most by a freshman in school history, while Porter led the Aggies at the point and knocked down the game-winning trey at New Mexico, giving Utah State a 68-66 victory.
In addition to the starters, USU returns two other letterwinners in guard Diogo Brito, who was regarded as one of the best sixth men in the Mountain West, and forward Justin Bean, who finished third on the team in offensive rebounding a season ago.