Looking back at Keyontae Johnson’s emotional weekend against Florida

Keyontae Johnson pumping up the crowd against Florida
Keyontae Johnson pumping up the crowd against Florida(WIBW)
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 10:22 PM CST
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MANHATTAN, Kan. (WIBW) - A moment of darkness that now is shining bright on the basketball court. Kansas State forward Keyontae Johnson is still thriving on the hardwood, not knowing what his future held.

Back in December 2020, the unthinkable happened. Keyontae Johnson collapsed on court when he played for Florida.

The former SEC Preseason Player of the Year and possible NBA Lottery Draft Pick, that all crumbled.

Fast forward two years later, Johnson is dribbling a basketball again. He entered the transfer portal on May 1, committed to Kansas State in August and then played his former team for the first time this past weekend.

“Special day just seeing my old teammates. It was fun out there playing against them. It just felt like practice, just joking around throughout the game but kept being competitive so it was a fun experience,” Johnsons said.

An experience he almost never got to see but during that emotional day one person he wanted to see, the man who saved his life, trainer Dave Werner.

“I was definitely looking forward to it,” Johnson said. “Seeing the athletic trainer Duke, he was one of the main people who saved my life on the court. Seeing him on the bench and talking to him after the game, it helped brighten up my day.”

“There was nothing that could compare to him seeing Duke again, the trainer and that was a pretty special embrace at the end of the game,” Head coach Jerome Tang said.

The four time Big 12 Newcomer of the Week this year and being on several trophy watch lists, Keyonte is grateful to still do what he loves.

“It’s a once and a lifetime memory and you’ll never get that feeling or moment back so just trying to embrace the moment and show my love for them,” Johnson said.

“It was really cool,” Tang said. As a fan, I wanted to see him have a good game, I wanted him to get the win. I think our team wanted him to get the win and we knew it was important to him, even though he didn’t make a big deal out of it.”