Observing Derrick Alston Jr. and Neemias Queta

February 21st, 2021

by Alan Lu

Recently, I took the time to watch a Mountain West conference basketball game that took place between Boise State and Utah State on February 19th, with thanks to YouTube via Hollywood Blvd.  Boise State’s Derrick Alston Jr. is an athletic, skilled 6-9 forward that can shoot and score the basketball, and his intriguing set of skills could potentially make him a sleeper pick in the 2021 draft.  Meanwhile, Utah State’s 7-0 junior center, Neemias Queta is an athletic rim protector that has added strength and more low post-scoring skills to his game, and is slowly evolving into being one of the best big men in college basketball.  I decided to take the time to watch both of the players play, and Boise State was able to edge out Utah State to get the victory.  Here are my thoughts on how Alston and Queta fared, as well as how their games may currently stack up as prospects for the NBA.

Boise State’s Derrick Alston Jr. scored 23 points in his team’s win over Utah State on February 19th.
(Photo:
Boise State Athletics, via the Idaho Statesman)

Boise State’s 6-9, redshirt senior swingman, Derrick Alston Jr. played very well in his team’s narrow win over Utah State.  He excelled as a shooter and scorer in this game, and he is a smart, skilled offensive player that moves well off the ball, and he was able to score 23 points and made 3 three-pointers to help his team get the victory.

Alston showed a solid ability to knock down jumpers, and he especially excelled at making threes from beyond the arc.  He especially excelled at making quick, spot-up threes off the catch, especially from the corner.  He ran off the ball, and used a quick ball fake to make a corner three midway through this match.  Late in this contest, he ran off of a stagger screen to knock down another spot-up three off the catch.  Also, he managed to pull up to score on a mid-range floater, and he also drew free throws when taking another.  However, he tended to struggle more to score on pull-up jumpers, especially from the mid-range.

He also showed a satisfactory ability to score off the dribble.  Alston tended to favor going to his right, and he is a tall, agile player that has a solid first step when taking the ball to the basket.  He was able to score on a strong drive once in the half-court.  He also did a good job of drawing fouls upon his defenders.  Plus, he also pushed the pace to lead the break, and he drove hard to the hoop and used a Euro-step move to his left to score quickly in transition.  However, there was another time where he drove to the right, but ended up missing a layup high off the glass, as he couldn’t quite find his shooting touch that time.

Plus, Alston also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He did a good job of scoring on quick backdoor cuts to the hoop, and he also was able to score on an athletic, two-handed dunk late in this game.  However, he did miss once on a rushed, off-balanced layup, as he had tried in vain to get the foul call that time.

Also, he displayed adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Alston is an unselfish player that handles the ball well, and he has solid court vision.  He can throw timely passes to set up scores for his teammates, and he was able to find a roll man to set up a dunk for his teammate early on.  He can throw good passes off the dribble as well as find his teammates on the move, and he will make the extra pass to keep the ball moving.  Plus, he will also bring the ball up quickly when called upon to run the point, as he can operate as a point forward when necessary.  However, he would sometimes throw hasty passes that would get intercepted, and he also got tied up on a drive that led to another turnover. He didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, but Alston was credited with getting one defensive board in this match against Utah State.  He didn’t show great instincts to get rebounds, and it was rare for him to get boards in this contest.

Defensively though, he struggled in this game.  For the positives, Alston is an athletic player that can make plays on the ball to get stops for his team.  He was to stay in front of his man when defending spin move to contest a shot in the post to force a miss.  He also closed out hard on a three-point shooter to force a miss late in this game.  He also used his length to force an opponent to commit a five second inbounding violation, as his length and activity made it difficult for his man to throw the ball in.  Alston almost was able to block a shot hard out of bounds, but was instead called for goaltending, as he was just a bit late to swat the shot.  On the other hand, he had trouble guarding opponents off the dribble when defending out on the perimeter, and he would end up committing fouls and allowing scores.  He also would sometimes get caught ball watching and not stay attached to his man, which would lead him to be late on his rotations.

In general, Derrick Alston Jr. is an athletic, skilled swingman that has versatile scoring skills, and he is a good shooter that excelled at making shots to help his team get the win.  He will need to improve his rebounding and defense, but his ability to shoot and score the basketball could make him a solid pick for a team in the second round range of the 2021 draft.

Utah State’s 7-0 center, Neemias Queta scored 30 points and had 11 rebounds in his team’s 81-77 loss to Boise State.
(Photo:
Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman via AP, via The Salt Lake Tribune)

Utah State’s 7-0 junior center, Neemias Queta had a strong showing in his team’s loss to Boise State.  He scored 30 points on 14 of 19 shooting, and he also had 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks in this game. He did a good job of scoring in the post.  Queta would often score on jump hooks and drop step moves, and he also scored on a powerful two-handed dunk once.  He also managed to back his man down to score on a turnaround, fadeaway jumper midway through this match.  He also has solid footwork, strength, and scoring touch around the basket, which enables him to score often down low.  Plus, he also can draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.  Sometimes though, he would not always go up strong when looking to score in traffic, which would lead to misses.

Also, Queta excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He would often score on put backs, and he also ran in to score on a tip-in after leaping up to grab an offensive rebound.  He also was able to get the ball on a quick, backdoor cut, as he then scored on a fadeaway jumper while getting an extra free throw afterwards.  He also showed that he can knock down mid-range jump shots, and he was able to make an open jump shot from the mid-range once in this match.

Adding to that, he also showed off adequate playmaking skills in this game.  Queta is an unselfish player that can throw good passes out of the post, and he also will set good screens to help his teammates get open jump shots.  He also will sometimes find cutters on the move, as he can make good passes when he plays patiently.  However, sometimes he can try to do too much on offense.  A couple of times when posting up, he would be reluctant to pass out of double teams, as he was called for traveling once, and he was called for carrying another time.  He also was called for setting a moving screen another time, and he also threw a hasty entry pass that got picked off late in this contest.

Plus, Queta did a very good job of rebounding the basketball.  He would often leap up to get numerous boards on both ends of the floor, and he did a great job of crashing the offensive glass and scoring on put backs to provide his team with second chance points.  He also would sometimes get strong boards in traffic on occasion.  Sometimes though, there would be times where he would allow opponents to get offensive rebounds in his area, and he also was called for an over the back foul when going for a board once.

Queta also played satisfactory defense in this game.  He excelled at blocking shots to help his protect the paint due to possessing solid length, mobility, and timing.  He also would get his hands on passes to get steals.  Plus, he also would rotate to contest shots in the paint as well as contest shots out on the perimeter to force plenty of misses.  On the other hand, he had some trouble guarding opponents on picks and rolls.  He would tend to over-hedge onto the opposing ball handler, and would be late to get back to the roll man, which would lead his team to allow scores around the basket.  Other times, he would struggle to defend opponents off the dribble out on the perimeter.  Every once in a while, he would not always make much of an effort to contest the shot when he is in the area to do so in the paint.

In summary, Neemias Queta played well in his team’s loss, and he primarily excelled as an interior player on both ends of the floor.  He’s shown a much improved ability to score in the post, but he hasn’t seemed to develop his face-up game nearly as much, though he didn’t really have to look to score from outside of the paint that much in this game.  Defensively, he seemed to be the most effective as an interior defender, but he struggled more to defend in space, especially when he would look to defend out on the perimeter.  Right now, he may be a second round prospect for the upcoming draft.  As Queta has filled out his frame, he’s now a back to the basket big man, but he will need to improve his perimeter skills.  Still, his ability to score and defend in the paint could enable him to be a solid, rotational big man in the NBA.

Boise State’s 6-7 senior forward, Abu Kigab also played very well in his team’s win over Utah State.  He was very efficient as a shooter and scorer in this game, and he also defended well when he was on the court. Kigab shot the ball very well in this game, especially from the mid-range.  He showed a knack for scoring on pull-up, mid-range jumpers, as he can score using step-backs and fade-aways on offense.  He also was able to make an open, spot-up three off the catch.

Also, he excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  Kigab was able to score on a quick, backdoor cut to the hoop.  He also can score in one-on-one situations.  Kigab was able to drive hard to the hoop to score on a switch of hands layup.  He also drew free throws on a turnaround jumper in the post.  However, he also missed on a turnaround, fadeaway jumper when posting up another time.

He also displayed adequate playmaking skills.  Kigab was able to kick a ball out to a shooter off the dribble to notch an assist.  He also managed to set an off-ball screen another time.  However, he also threw a hasty entry pass that got intercepted on another play.

He also was able to get his fair share of boards to help his team on the glass.  He was especially active at crashing the offensive glass to help his team get offensive rebounds, and he was able to chase down a tough offensive board late in this match.  He also managed to tip a ball to a teammate to help a team get a defensive board.

Plus, Kigab played fairly good defense in this game.  He excelled at blocking shots, as he was able to rotate to swat a shot in the post, and he also blocked a shot off of a drive to a teammate due to possessing solid length, athleticism, and timing.  He also would poke balls away in the post and dive for loose balls to get steals.  He also was able to successfully draw a charge when defending a drive.  Plus, he also showed that he can defend out on the perimeter as well as in the paint to get stops for his team.  However, sometimes he would be late on his rotations, which would lead him to commit fouls.  On another play, he bit wildly on a pump fake, as his team ended up allowing a dunk another time.

Overall, Abu Kigab played very well, as he scored 19 points on 6 of 8 shooting, and he excelled as a scorer and defender in this game.  He is a high-motor player that will make hustle plays on both ends of the floor.  He has not drawn much draft buzz this year, but over time, he could perhaps project to be a 3 and D type of role player in the NBA.

I also took the time to watch two former players that had previously played for Arizona, but are now on Boise State’s team, Emmanuel Akot and Devonaire Doutrive.  Of the two, both are solid athletes, and Akot is a point forward while Deoutrive looks to be more of a shooter of the two.

Boise State’s 6-8 junior forward, Emmanuel Akot had his ups and downs in this game in his team’s win over Utah State.  He struggled to make shots in this game, but he excelled as a playmaker and defender when he was on the floor. He had trouble knocking down jumpers, but Akot was able to score on a running jump hook in the post.

Also, Akot showed off solid playmaking skills.  He is a good ball handler that sees the floor well, and Boise State would entrust him to operate as the team’s point forward off the bench.  He would throw solid interior passes to find teammates on the move, and he can get his teammates the ball in an assortment of ways to get them the basketball.  He also can quickly push the ball up the floor to create transition scoring opportunities for his team. Though, Akot did not grab many rebounds in this game, he was able to get a pair of defensive boards in this match against Utah State.

He also played solid defense.  Akot was able to rotate to block a shot hard off of a cut to a teammate due to possessing solid length, athleticism, and timing.  He would also frequently get his hands on passes to get steals and deflections.  He also was able to rotate to contest a three to force a miss.  On the downside, he struggled to defend in the post, as he would not show much resistance when guarding down low, as he would tend to allow scores to his opponents when defending on the block.

Overall, Emmanuel Akot is an athletic, versatile point forward that could be an intriguing player at the collegiate level, at least for next season.  He’s a tall playmaker that can operate as the team’s table setter, and he also can defend multiple positions.  It’s a shame that he’s not a very good shooter or scorer, as his inability to knock down jumpers has limited his playing time throughout his collegiate career.  If he can ever be a functional shooter or an efficient enough scorer, he could perhaps be able to put together a good senior year next season.  As of right now, he may not likely reach the NBA anytime soon, but his athleticism, playmaking, and defensive skills could enable him to carve out a career either in the G-League or overseas when his collegiate career ends.

Boise State’s 6-5 junior guard, Devonaire Doutrive did not play that much in this game, but he is a solid athlete that can make plays on both ends of the floor. Doutrive ran the floor to catch a long outlet pass, which enabled him to score quickly on the break.  He also used a crossover to draw free throws on a quick, left-handed drive to the hoop.  He also attempted a corner three, but missed on his lone three-point attempt from beyond the arc.

On the downside, he was fairly turnover prone in this game.  For the positives, Doutrive handles the ball fairly well.  However, he had trouble protecting the basketball, and he had a ball poked away on a drive that led to a turnover.  He also threw an entry pass that was intercepted another time. While he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, Doutrive was able to chase down a ball to get a defensive board, as he then pushed the ball up the court afterwards.

He also played decent defense in this game.  Doutrive was able to deflect a pass to nearly get a steal.  He also held his own when defending a bigger player in the post, as he held his ground, contested the shot, and forced the miss.  However, on another play, he didn’t show much resistance when guarding an opponent in the post another time, as he then allowed his opponent to score around the basket.

Overall, Devonaire Doutrive is an athletic combo guard, and he looked to be one of the most athletic players in this game, perhaps second to Alston among all players that had played on this day.  He will need to be more assertive on offense, and he will need to prove himself to be a reliable outside shooter from beyond the arc if he can get some extended playing time.  Right now, he’s not a prospect for the NBA this season, but if he can get a lot of playing time next season, he may have the skills to be able to put together a good senior season by then if he can put his skills all together.  He may be a long shot to make it to the NBA, but he may have the skills to be able to carve out a career either in the G-League or overseas when his collegiate career ends.

Utah State’s 6-7 redshirt junior forward, Justin Bean played fairly well in his team’s loss to Boise State.  He did a good job of scoring on strong drives to the hoop, and he can finish plays using either hand.  He also excelled at scoring on hustle plays.  He ran in to score on a give and go in transition, and he also managed to score on a strong put back after grabbing an offensive board.  He struggled more to knock down jumpers from further out, but Bean seemed to be the most effective when he would look to score around the basket.      

On the downside, he was fairly turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, Bean can throw solid interior passes, and he also set a good, firm on-ball screen to help set up a score for a teammate.  However, he would sometimes commit ball-handling turnovers, as he would sometimes struggle to handle the ball when pressured.  He also threw an inaccurate pass that sailed out of bounds due to miscommunication, as he thought that a teammate would be in the corner instead. Also, Bean did a decent job of rebounding the basketball.  He was fairly active on the glass, and he did a good job of chasing down balls to help his team get offensive boards.

Defensively, he looked to be perhaps above average.  Bean is an active help defender that can help his team force plenty of turnovers.  He would jump on loose balls, and he also jumped a pass to get a steal another time.  He also ran in to force a tie-up when defending on a drive to force another turnover.  Plus, he also managed to contest a mid-range shot to force a miss.  However, he would struggle to defend quicker opponents off the dribble, and he would also give up too much space to shooters when defending out on the perimeter. 

Overall, Justin Bean had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Boise State.  On the downside, he is basically an undersized big man in a wing player’s body.  He will need to extend his shooting range and improve his outside shot.  He is a productive player at the collegiate level, but the concerns are that he is not very athletic, and he is a tweener whose game may not fit in the NBA.  He doesn’t have much shooting range and is not an elite ball handler, and he may lack the athleticism or size to be able to adequately guard either forward position at that level.  Still, he’s been a productive player at Utah State.   While he may be a long shot to make it to the NBA, Bean could end up playing overseas and carving out a fairly lengthy career in professional basketball when his collegiate career comes to an end.

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