San Diego State Utah State Basketball after game

Utah State head coach Craig Smith, left, and center Neemias Queta celebrate after the Aggies won the Mountain West Conference Tournament in March. Queta declared for the NBA draft in April, but may return to USU.

With less than a week to make his decision, many Aggie fans are wondering what Nemias Queta will do.

The Utah State center on the men’s basketball team declared for the NBA draft back in early April and was being represented by an agent. Under new NCAA rules, college athletes can now get an agent and still return to school. They must make their decision to withdraw from the draft by a certain date.

That day is May 29, which is next Wednesday.

The Aggie freshman worked out with the Utah Jazz and was one of 66 athletes invited to the NBA Combine in Chicago last weekend. He met with 11 teams at the combine and received four invitations to work out with teams. While not much has been said, the comments that have come out are positive about Queta. However, they also seem to encourage him to continue to play at the collegiate level for at least another year.

The 6-foot-11 center showed vast improvement from when he arrived at USU late last summer from Portugal through the 2018-19 season. Queta was named the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year, as well as the Defensive Player of the Year. He also earned second-team all-league honors.

USU head coach Craig Smith has praised Queta and encouraged him to explore his future in the NBA. Obviously, the second-year Aggie coach would love to have Queta return for at least one more season to help defend the team’s Mountain West championship.

USU did sign 7-2 Jakub “Kuba” Karwowski earlier this month from the junior college ranks. But having Queta return would bolster the chances of the Aggies battling for another MW title next March.

Earlier this month Queta was on Twitter stating USU was the best college basketball team in the state of Utah, as well as praising the Aggie football team. He quickly became a fan favorite in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, high-fiving students, boosters and senior citizens during and after games.

Queta is currently in Logan and expected to make an announcement before the deadline next week.

In his only season at USU, Queta shattered the school’s single-season blocks record and helped 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 USU 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, matching the third-most blocks in a game in USU history and setting a new Mountain West freshman record.

In addition to his defense, Queta finished second on the team in scoring with 11.8 points per game, and led the team with 8.9 rebounds per outing. Queta scored in double figures in 24 games and logged a team-best 10 double-doubles during the season. Queta’s team-leading 312 rebounds during the year marked the first time an Aggie has surpassed 300 rebounds in a season since the 1976-77 campaign and was a new USU freshman record.

USU finished the 2018-19 campaign with a 28-7 record, tying for the third-most victories in a season in school history and secured a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the highest-ever seed by the Aggies in the history of the program. USU also finished the year ranked No. 25 in the nation, while scoring a school-record 2,753 points and recording a school-record 147 blocks.

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Shawn Harrison is the sports editor at The Herald Journal. He can be reached at sharrison@hjnews.com or 435-792-7233.