K-State lands Florida basketball transfer Keyontae Johnson
Kansas State basketball fans may be starting to dream a little about what the Wildcats could accomplish in Jerome Tang’s first season as head coach.
The Wildcats added a big transfer to their roster on Saturday when Keyontae Johnson announced plans to end his college career in Manhattan.
The 6-foot-5, 229-pound forward from Norfolk, Va., was once a star player in Florida and will now look to make a similar impact at K-State. He averaged 14 points and 7.1 rebounds in his final full season with the Gators in 2019-20.
He was an SEC first-team all-conference player as a sophomore and the league’s preseason player of the year prior to his junior campaign.
If Johnson can replicate those numbers in a purple uniform, K-State will have a realistic path to the NCAA Tournament and a finish high in the Big 12 standings. Both of those aspirations seemed like a pipe dream just months ago when Tang s was trying to rebuild the team’s roster.
Johnson chose K-State over Memphis, Nebraska and western Kentucky.
K-State hosted Johnson on a recruiting visit in July. There was optimism that the Wildcats were leading for his services at the time, but Tang had to wait until Johnson traveled to Memphis and Nebraska to hear his decision.
Johnson will be an exciting late addition to Tang’s inaugural recruiting class with K-State. Not only does he give the Wildcats 12 scholarship players next season, he gives them difference-making potential in the front court.
The Wildcats were expected to be the 68th best team in the nation in Bart Torvik’s preseason ranking index before Johnson joined the mix. But K-State moved to No. 42 after its production was factored in.
In other words, he could be the difference between competing for a spot in the NIT and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament.
But there are some questions about how quickly he regains his form.
Johnson hasn’t played in a live game in almost two years. His last appearance was on December 21, 2020, when he collapsed in a non-conference game at Florida State due to a heart condition.
Police later investigated him for potentially sexually assaulting a woman in the state of Florida, but the charges against him were ultimately dismissed.
Since then, he has been considering his future options. He reportedly has a $5 million insurance policy that he could cash in on retiring from basketball for medical reasons. But he was expected to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft before his frightening injury.
It looks like he’s decided to play college basketball again.
His next stop: Kansas State.