Keyontae Johnson is transferring to Kansas St., choosing the Wildcats over Nebraska, Western Kentucky and Memphis. Stadium’s Jeff Goodman first reported the news earlier today.
Johnson entered the transfer portal a few months ago, hoping to revive his promising basketball career that’s been on hold since he collapsed in a terrifying scene during Florida’s road game at Florida State on Dec. 12 of 2020.
Life-saving measures were taken at the Donald L. Tucker Center that afternoon. When he arrived at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, he was in critical but stable condition. After being put in a medically induced coma for three days, Johnson was transported back to Gainesville.
On Dec. 15, reports began to circulate that Johnson was awake, speaking and responding to commands. Former UF coach Mike White announced on Dec. 28 that Johnson had returned to the team in the role of ‘Coach Key,’ as he continued to undergo further medical tests on his heart.
Johnson missed the rest of the season and the entirety of this past year as well. UF’s medical team never cleared him. On March 5 of 2022 on Senior Day for the Gators, Johnson was an honorary starter vs. Kentucky. He only participated in the jump ball before giving a kiss to center court at the O-Dome to a standing ovation.
Just months before collapsing against the Seminoles, Johnson was named the 2020-21 SEC Preseason Player of the Year. As a true sophomore the previous season, he averaged 14.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game to garner first-team All-SEC honors.
At that time, most mock drafts had him listed as a mid-first-round pick for the 2021 NBA Draft.
In UF’s first three games before playing at FSU, Johnson had scored 16, 24 and 19 points while playing 28, 27 and 22 minutes in those respective contests. He had scored five points in the first four minutes against the ‘Noles. Johnson made 25-of-39 field-goal attempts (64.1%), 42.9 percent of his 3-pointers and 78.6 percent of his free throws in those four games.
As a true freshman for the Gators in 2018-19, Johnson started 20 of 36 games. He averaged 8.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 SPG.
Before the 2020-21 campaign, Johnson was granted a $5 million insurance policy thanks to his status as a projected first-round pick.
According to an Associated Press story in November of ’21, “Johnson’s policy provides him enough flexibility to take steps toward playing professionally and still be able to reverse course and make an insurance claim, one source said. If he does trigger the insurance policy that Florida paid the premiums on, there’s an option for him to take the $5 million as a lump sum. There’s no timetable or deadline for Johnson to make a decision on his future.”
If the 23-year-old Johnson can return to anything close to the form he was in 20 months ago, he makes Jerome Tang’s first team at Kansas St. a candidate to make the NCAA Tournament. Tang, Scott Drew’s former assistant at Baylor since 2003, replaced Bruce Weber this past March when he signed a six-year contract worth $14.1 million.
The Wildcats have endured three losing seasons in a row since winning a share of the Big 12 regular-season title and going to the 2019 NCAA Tournament. They currently have 200/1 odds to win the 2023 NCAA Tournament at DraftKings.
We’ll leave you with some Johnson highlight clips below: