Gainesville, Fla. — The 2020-21 season will be ingrained in the memory of Florida Gators men’s basketball forward Keyontae Johnson for years to come. During a timeout in the Dec. 12 game at Florida State, he inexplicably collapsed. He was soon taken off the floor on a stretcher and immediately rushed to the hospital. Thankfully, after 10 days he recovered and was released. The cause of the collapse is still unknown, but Johnson remained determined, accompanied by a positive mindset, to get back on the court.
Today, he’s on the roster for his senior year and wants to prove to potential scouts that his body can withstand the toll of a long and grueling season. At 6-foot-5 and 229 pounds, he is a dominating presence on the court and backs it up with his game. Johnson started in all four of his game appearances last season, averaging 16.00 points per game in 20.3 minutes.
Not only is he scoring a lot in a short amount of time, Johnson is shooting the ball efficiently. He had a 64.1 field goal percentage and only missed three of his 14 attempted free throws during his short season last year. These numbers show that not only does he have a big body with a commanding grasp of the court, he also possesses a light shooting touch. It is a rarity that a “big man” can have the sweet stroke at the charity stripe.
But Johnson isn’t just a one-way player. In the four games he started, he managed to nab four steals and grab 18 total rebounds. He’s got the defensive awareness to fight for the loose ball and the feline quickness to rob opposing attackers. The depth of his game is apparent, but that’s not all he’s capable of offering this season.
Johnson will not just bring his basketball savvy to the court, he will also deliver a boost in the form of the intangible statistical commodity known as “heart.” His recovery from that shocking collapse will inspire and reinvigorate the team. It will give them an extra incentive to do well after the horrendous experience they endured on that December night, just as the Danish men’s national team did when one of their star players, Cristian Eriksen, collapsed during their group stage game against Finland at Euro 2020.
There’s no real surprise that Johnson’s return to the court will have a seismic impact on the team and NCAA men’s basketball in general. He’s a one-of-a-kind forward that can score on you and prevent you from scoring on him. Such an all-round talent is a joy to behold and we are fortunate to have the pleasure to witness him displaying his skills.
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