The selection ended a long journey back to competitive basketball for Johnson, who overcame a medical emergency that nearly ended his career to join Kansas State, play an incredible comeback season for the Wildcats and in doing so played his way back into the eyes of NBA scouts.
He required medical clearance to be drafted and he received that clearance in May.
The selection gave the Wildcats a draft pick for the first time since 2017, when Wesley Iwindu was selected in the second round. The Wildcats’ last first-round pick was Michael Beasley, who went No. 2 overall, in 2008.
The 6-foot-8 forward helped Kansas State reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament under first-year coach Jerome Tang. He earned Third-Team All-America selection, along with All-Big 12 First Team selection and was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year in his only season with K-State.
With the Wildcats he averaged 17.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
He finished his college career with 1,416 career points (13.1 ppg.) on 51.9 percent shooting (538-of-1037), including 38.9 percent (103-of-265) from 3-point range, with 713 rebounds (6.6 rpg.), 175 assists (1.6 apg.), 29 blocks (0.3 bpg.) and 117 steals (1.1 spg.) in 3,132 points (29.0 mpg.).
The Big 12 had a good night in the first round, as five players from current and future teams were selected. Houston’s Jarace Walker went No. 8 overall to the Washington Wizards, though he was later traded to the Indiana Pacers. UCF’s Taylor Hendricks went No. 9 to Utah.
Kansas guard Gradey Dick went No. 13 to Toronto. Baylor guard Keyonte George joined Hendricks in Utah when he was selected No. 16. And, Houston’s Marcus Sasser went No. 25 to Memphis, but was later traded to Detroit.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard