Since arriving in Manhattan, KS, K-State forward Keyontae Johnson has been nothing short of spectacular.
Averaging 18.5 points and 7.4 rebounds per game for the fifth-ranked Wildcats, Johnson has quickly become one of the top stars in the nation’s best basketball conference.
However, the story of Keyontae Johnson almost went very differently, and it all started during his junior season at Florida. That’s when Johnson collapsed on the floor during a Florida vs. Florida State game on December 12, 2020.
“It basically was like a freak thing,” Johnson told Jeff Goodman. “They’re still trying to do tests. They still have my medical stuff, so they’ve still been looking into it and doing a lot of research behind it.”
At that point in time, it was uncertain whether Johnson would ever come back to the sport of basketball, but now he is one of the top stories in college basketball. There was almost another reason that Johnson didn’t come back to the sport, as he tells Stadium basketball analyst Jeff Goodman in a sit-down interview.
The NCAA has an insurance policy for the top basketball players that are determined to have a future at the professional level of basketball. The policy, known as the loss of value insurance by the NCAA, states that it, ‘protects a student-athlete’s future contract value from decreasing below a predetermined amount due to a significant injury or illness suffered during the policy’s designated coverage period.’
According to Goodman, that insurance policy was worth $5 million in Johnson’s case.
“If you never played again, you were going to get $5 million,” Goodman said. “A lot of people would say, ‘You’re crazy,’ because you took a risk here.”
Johnson agreed with the sentiment, but said the decision to come back was more of a bet on himself.
“I just love the game,” Johnson told Goodman. “I feel like I put a lot of work in. I feel like God didn’t give me a second chance [just] to sit out again.”
As a projected second-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Johnson will likely get a chance to prove that the bet on himself was a good one.