Nearly 10 months after Florida forward Keyontae Johnson collapsed in the middle of the court against Florida State, he remains on the sidelines serving as a player coach of sorts for the Gators. Florida men’s basketball head coach Mike White said that “Coach Key” will be a big part of the team despite not being medically cleared, according to the Associated Press.
“(We hope) he continues to be the awesome young man that he is, continues to stay ready for whatever’s ahead for him, continues to be a great person, a great teammate, an extension of our staff, of course,” White said. “He’s a big-time Gator. He’s a Gator great in my mind.”
Johnson was the Southeastern Conference’s preseason player of the year in 2020 before the scary collapse sent him to the hospital. Over the summer, he vowed to play basketball again even if it wasn’t for the Gators, but Johnson isn’t expected back on the court any time soon.
Florida could use Johnson after losing players to the draft and to the transfer portal, but four inbound transfers provides some depth for the team. White says Johnson has “a good pule as to what’s going on” with the team, and Coach Key has embraced the role with a whistle around his neck.
Johnson started 31 games in 2019-20 for the Gators and averaged 14 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals per game. He’ll impact whatever team he’s with when he does play ball again, but health has to come first for the young man.
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