By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Portuguese center Neemias Queta debuted in the NBA Friday evening. He became the first player from Portugal to appear in the NBA game but did not feel pressured by the historic moment.
“It’s a great accomplishment just to be able to be on the floor and get some reps in and be able to play,” he said following the 2021-22 NBA Regular Season fixture featuring his Sacramento Kings at home opposite the Memphis Grizzlies, “I feel like it’s been a long time coming. I have been dreaming about this day since I started playing basketball. I am really happy it happened today.”
Queta, 22, went 0/4 from the field failing to land his first NBA point over eight minutes. He recorded five rebounds, one assist, and one block in the losing effort.
“It’s pretty late down there,” he said regarding Portuguese fans conquering the time difference to enjoy his debut, “So, it’s special that they are up just to watch me play. I really want to thank them for being up and staying with me on my side for every opportunity I get.”
With head coach Alvin Gentry testing positive for COVID-19 and entering the league’s health and safety protocols along with several players, acting coach Doug Christie entrusted Queta with a rotation spot.
“Honestly, I feel it just makes my job a lot easier. Doug is a coach that pretty much lays the foundation and lets the players do what they do. That’s the type of coach I really feel I can develop,” mentioned the former Utah State standout, “I feel this is a good opportunity for me. I am really enjoying being part of this group and being coached by Doug.”
Queta was coming off 15.4 points, eight rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per G League game, assigned to the Stockton Kings. He was picked 39th overall in the NBA draft during the offseason.
“I have always been ready for whenever the opportunity came,” he pointed out on finally debuting in the NBA, “You never know when it’s going to come, but you know that when the opportunity comes you got to give it your best and try to help the team the best way you can. That’s what I was trying to do.”
“Honestly, I just see it as basketball,” he added, “I am not really thinking, ‘OK, this is the NBA’. Whenever I am on the court, I am thinking, ‘OK, this is basketball’. I know I am good at it. I know I can do some things good. I am just trying to do my best, the best possible way I can.”
Photo Credit: Getty Images