Keyontae Johnson Cleared for 2023 NBA Draft; Diagnosed with Heart Condition

The NBA’s Fitness to Play panel authorized Keyontae Johnson, Kansas State Guardian, allowing him to be selected in the June NBA draft, its agents Mark Bartelstein and Ross Aroyo of Priority Sports told ESPN on Friday.

NBA teams were informed of Johnson’s authorization in a memorandum shared by the league office on Friday afternoon. According to Bartelstein, Johnson, considered a potential late first shift, will now be able to start traveling and working for future teams.

While the news should not be so surprising, given that Johnson played last season for Kansas State and played a decisive role in his NCAA deep-shift race, the news reports the end of what has been a turmoil for 23 years.

In 2020, when Johnson was young in Florida, he collapsed during a game against Florida State and was rushed to the hospital. He’s been in a coma for three days.

“The first thing I remember waking up at the hospital was seeing my mother and she was holding my hand,” said Johnson Yahoo Sports earlier this year. “I heard her talking and my vision was still blurred and it was the first thing I saw, and then my father came into the room and just the look on both faces, I knew something had happened.”

Johnson lost the rest of the season, and then briefly appeared in a game during the 2021-22 campaign. He was transferred to Kansas State for his final year of eligibility last year after being authorized by several doctors and diagnosed with athlete’s heart.

Johnson’s average was 17.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game last season with the Wildcats and reached Elite Eight, where they were caught by Florida Atlantic.

It’s not clear where Johnson’s gonna end up in the NBA right now. Yahoo Sports’ Krysten Peek made him number 34 global for the Charlotte Hornets in his latest mock project.

Anyway, Johnson is now officially eligible for recruitment.

“It’s the best basketball story,” an NBA scout told Yahoo Sports earlier this year. “To see him go back to court, and not only to come back and record minutes, but to get even better is amazing. His creation of shots and how versatile he is as a defender, being able to hold multiple positions, is valuable at the NBA level.”

After what he’s been through in the last few years, that’s a big milestone.


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