Kansas State forward Keyontae Johnson (11) grabs a rebound behind Butler guard Eric Hunter Jr. (2) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022. Butler defeated Kansas State 76-64. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Keyontae Johnson faces Gators for first time

Former Gators Men’s Basketball star Keyontae Johnson gets ready to face his former team for the first time, as Kansas State hosts the Gators Saturday.

Road to Recovery for Keyontae Johnson

It’s been just over two years since Johnson collapsed on the court mid-game while a junior at UF. The sudden injury resulted in Johnson sustaining a cardiac issue that would sideline him for the rest of his time at UF. He sat out the rest of his junior season, and was an honorary member of the team his senior year. It seemed as if his basketball career was over.

Johnson continued to train and kept his body in basketball shape. Then Kansas State gave his career a lifeline.

After extensive testing and physicals, Kansas State deemed Johnson healthy to play. Now 20 games into the season, Johnson leads the Wildcats in scoring and rebounding. Kansas State is ranked No. 5 in the nation with a 17-3 record. This marks the first time in 11 years that Kansas State has been ranked top five in college basketball.

Kansas State play by play announcer, Wyatt Thompson, had some very high praise for Johnson. Saying that Johnson is “as good a teammate that you’re going to find.”

Gators stay focused amidst Johnson reunion

Although there will be a lot of emotion on the court Saturday, Gators coach Todd Golden preaches the importance of staying locked in for 40 minutes. When asked about Keyontae Johnson, Golden said that he wishes Johnson the best, just not on Saturday.

Golden said the Gators must try to “eliminate the human element” for 40 minutes on Saturday to give them the best chance to win.

Florida’s tough stretch

Emotions aside, the game against Kansas State marks the start of one of the toughest four-game stretches in college basketball this season.

After the Gators matchup with No.5 Kansas State, they return home for a date with No. 4 Tennessee. Following that game, the Gators hit the road for a matchup with Kentucky in one of the most hostile college basketball environment’s in the nation. To top it all off they end the four-game stretch with a road matchup against No. 2 Alabama.

Florida and Kansas State tip-off Saturday night at 6 p.m. from the Bramlage Coliseum in Manhattan, Kansas.

About Jamie Goldman

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