Sam Merrill and Neemias Queta named to Mountain West 25th Season team – Cache Valley Daily

Utah State’s Sam Merrill shoots in the final moments against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game for the Mountain West Conference men’s tournament championship Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

LOGAN, Utah — In celebration of its 25 year anniversary, the Mountain West Conference announced its top 25 men’s basketball players in league history, a list which includes former Utah State guard Sam Merrill and center Neemias Queta.

Utah State’s Sam Merrill plays against Wyoming during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Mountain West Conference men’s tournament Friday, March 6, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

Merrill, who played for the Aggies from 2017-20, is all over the USU career record lists, including free throw percentage (.891, 1st), points (2,197; 2nd), assists (477, 2nd), 3-point field goals (319, 2nd), 3-point field goals attempted (759, 2nd), 10-point games (108, 2nd), minutes played (4,360; 2nd), field goal attempts (1,521; 4th), games played (131, 4th), games started (119, 4th), field goals made (715, 5th), steals (129, 6th), minutes per game (33.3, t-6th), 3-point field goal percentage (.420, 7th) and points per game (16.8, t-13th).

Merrill was the 2019 Mountain West Player of the Year and was a Senior CLASS first-team All-American in 2020. He was a two-time MW Tournament MVP (2019, 2020) and two-time first-team all-MW honoree (2019-20). He was named a third-team All-American by Stadium and an AP Honorable Mention All-American in 2020. Merrill was a two-time USBWA all-District VIII honoree (2019, 2020) and was the district’s Player of the Year in 2020. He was also an NABC first-team all-district honoree in 2019 and 2020, while he was third-team all-MW in 2018. Merrill earned academic all-MW honors and was a Whitesides Scholar-Athlete in all four years of his collegiate career.

Merrill was selected by the New Orlenas Pelicans as the final pick of the 2020 NBA draft. He currently plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Utah State’s Neemias Queta dunks the basketball in the game against San Jose State in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah, on Jan. 30, 2019. Utah State won the game, their fifth consecutive win, with a final score of 103-73. (Megan Nielsen)

Queta, who played for the Aggies from 2019-21, is USU’s all-time leader in blocks (219) and blocks per game (2.5). He is also represented on several USU career record lists, including games with 10+ rebounds (37, 4th), field goal percentage (.594, 6th), double-doubles (30, t-7th), consecutive double-doubles (8, 8th), rebounds (777, 10th), rebounds per game (9.0, 10th) and points (1,113, t-29th).

Queta was the Bleacher Report National Defensive Player of the Year in 2021. That year, he was also an AP Honorable Mention All-American, Naismith Defensive Player of the Year finalist and the USBWA District VIII Player of the Year. Queta was the 2019 MW Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year, and was again named the Defensive Player of the Year in 2021. He earned first-team all-MW honors in 2021 and was a second-team honoree in both 2019 and 2020. He was named to the MW all-tournament team in each of his three season with the Aggies. He was named NABC first-team all-district 17 in 2021 and was a second team honoree in both 2019 and 2020. Queta was USBWA all-district VIII in 2019.

Queta was selected by the Sacramento Kings in the second round of the 2021 NBA draft as the 39th pick. He currently plays for the Boston Celtics on a two-way contract with the Maine Celtics.

No. 18 Utah State men’s basketball (26-5, 14-4 MW) is the top-seed in the upcoming Mountain West Championship in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will play either eighth-seeded Wyoming (15-16, 8-10 MW) or ninth-seeded Fresno State (11-20, 4-14 MW) in a quarterfinal game on Thursday, March 14, at 1 p.m. (MT). The contest will be televised live on CBS Sports Network (Xfinity Ch. 269, DirecTV Ch. 221, Dish Ch. 158). If USU advances to the semifinals it will play at 7:30 p.m. (MT), on Friday, March 15, on CBS Sports Network, while the championship game will be on Saturday, March 16, at 4 p.m. (MT), on CBS.

Utah State men’s basketball news and information is available on Facebook (, on Twitter (@usubasketball) and on Instagram (@usubasketball). Fans can also get USU men’s basketball highlights on YouTube ( Aggie fans can follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter (@usuathletics), on Facebook ( or on Instagram (@usuathletics).

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