Kansas State basketball forward Keyontae Johnson has received a major health update ahead of the 2023 NBA Draft.
Johnson, who collapsed on the court during a game in December 2020, has been cleared to play by the NBA’s Fitness to Play panel, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski.
The 22-year-old was playing for the Florida Gators when he suddenly fell to the court during a timeout on December 12, 2020. He was diagnosed with acute myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. It was truly a scary moment, and the chances of him playing basketball again, let alone be selected for the 2023 NBA Draft, were slim.
Johnson spent three days in a medically induced coma and was hospitalized for several weeks. He was eventually released from the hospital and began a long road to recovery until returning in March 2022:
Nice moment for Florida #Gators star Keyontae Johnson being honored with a start and catching the ceremonial tip in the O’Dome.
— OnlyGators.com: Florida Gators news (@onlygators) March 5, 2022
Johnson then opted to transfer to Kansas State at the completion of his Florida career. He likely had two years of eligibility remaining — one as a graduate student, and another if he were to appeal for a medical redshirt from his last few years in Gainesville. Despite not playing a competitive game since his collapse, he made himself an integral part of the Wildcats run to the 2023 NCAA Tournament. He averaged 17.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 36 games with Kansas State.
Johnson’s health update is a major boost for his NBA draft stock. He is projected to be a late first to mid second-round pick and could be a steal for any team that selects him.
Johnson’s story is truly an inspiration to anyone who has ever faced adversity. He overcame a serious health scare to return to the game he loves, and he is now on the cusp of achieving his dream of playing in the NBA. It’s only a matter of time until his name gets called up.
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