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NBA Draft 2021: Neemias Queta selected 39th overall by Sacramento Kings

The former Utah State Aggie stays out west.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Utah State at Texas Tech Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

Neemias Queta became the first Portuguese national to be selected in the NBA draft on Thursday night, going 39th overall to Sacramento.

The Kings got one of the best rim protectors in this draft class. Queta’s presence was a catalyst for Utah State’s success under Craig Smith. Utah State finished seventh in the conference the year before Queta got there. During his three seasons at Utah State, the Aggies made two NCAA tournament appearances, won two conference tournament titles, and won a regular season championship. Utah State finished in the top 50 in overall defensive efficiency and in the top 30 in two-point defense, ranking inside the top five in that category twice.

Queta drastically improved from year to year, adding elements to his offensive game and improving his free throw percentage from 50 to 70%.

Queta came into the draft not knowing where he was going. He was ranked as high as 29th on Matt Norlander’s big board and as low as 60th in ESPN’s Jonathon Giveroy’s.

Queta is prospect who can develop into a legit starting center on a championship team. He is a center who can excel in a defined role as a rim protector and is good enough on the offensive end, where he avoids being a waste of space. We should see continued development on that end.

Look for Queta to continue to break Portuguese basketball barriers as he thrives in a long NBA career as a role player.