HomeBasketballEx-Gator returning to hoops almost two years after collapse

Ex-Gator returning to hoops almost two years after collapse


By John Fanta
FOX Sports activities School Basketball Author

The large information in school basketball over the weekend got here Saturday, when former Florida star Keyontae Johnson introduced that he’s transferring to Kansas State, the following step in a basketball journey that stands in a category of its personal.

The mere incontrovertible fact that Johnson has been medically cleared to step again on the hardwood and play within the upcoming season is an accomplishment, as a result of on Dec. 12, 2020, his life modified. 

On that day, Johnson collapsed on the courtroom through the Gators’ recreation in opposition to Florida State. He was taken out of the world on a stretcher and straight to the hospital, the place he was positioned in a medically induced coma resulting from coronary heart irritation. It was a pointy and staggering distinction, because the SEC Preseason Participant of the 12 months getting into the 2020-21 marketing campaign immediately noticed his life flash earlier than his eyes.

That led to a highway to restoration for Johnson, who was not cleared to return to basketball actions for the 2021-22 season. However the gentle on the finish of the tunnel will are available Manhattan, Kansas, with the 6-foot-5 guard asserting his resolution to play for first-year head coach Jerome Tang. He picked the Wildcats over Nebraska, Memphis and Western Kentucky.

The selection to go to the Little Apple is attention-grabbing in a wide range of methods. For starters, Johnson is the seventh switch — and ninth participant total — to signal with the Wildcats since Tang, a former assistant at Baylor beneath Scott Drew, obtained the job at Kansas State.

There’s optimistic momentum with the Wildcats program, and whereas the approaching season might characteristic some challenges, high quality expertise is committing to this system. In the mean time, Tang has the eighth-best recruiting class for 2023, led by four-star commits Dai Dai Ames and RJ Jones.

Johnson’s profession path is much like one thing Tang handled throughout his time at Baylor. Former Bears star Jared Butler, at present with the Utah Jazz, suffered from a coronary heart situation in school. He went by means of a course of with it and was the 2021 Ultimate 4 Most Excellent Participant on a nationwide title group.

It’s tough to say precisely what Johnson will give Kansas State in his last yr of school eligibility, however the Wildcats are getting somebody who was acting at a extremely excessive stage two years in the past. Johnson was an All-SEC First Group choice in 2019-20, posting 14.0 factors and seven.1 boards per recreation as a sophomore whereas taking pictures 54% from the ground. 

His capability to assault the rim and get previous defenders was spectacular, and the rebounding expertise he possessed at his measurement led him to scoring much more. If he could be even a portion of what he was a few years in the past, he’ll solely assist the Wildcats.

As his profession revs again up, it’s of notice that the Related Press reported in November that Johnson has a $5 million life insurance coverage coverage. Stadium’s Jeff Goodman famous the main points of that state of affairs:

Greater than something, it’s outstanding to assume that Johnson is returning to school basketball and suiting up for a group this season. He’s a singular comeback story within the sport value monitoring, and there shall be extra eyeballs on a new-look Kansas State program in consequence.

John Fanta is a nationwide school basketball broadcaster and author for FOX Sports activities. He covers the game in a wide range of capacities, from calling video games on FS1 to serving as lead host on the BIG EAST Digital Community to offering commentary on The Discipline of 68 Media Community. Observe him on Twitter @John_Fanta.

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