BREAKING: Keyontae Johnson declares for NBA Draft

Keyontae Johnson
Forward Keyontae Johnson stops to catch his breath against the Baylor Bears. K-State won the home game against the Bears 75-65. (Archive photo by Reece Bachta | Collegian Media Group)

Senior Kansas State men’s basketball forward Keyontae Johnson has declared for the 2023 NBA draft, according to a Twitter post on Sunday afternoon. 

Johnson holds the remarkable comeback story of a medical collapse on court that led to a two-year absence from college basketball. Johnson transferred to K-State from Florida in 2022 and was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team in his sole season with the Wildcats.

Johnson averaged 17.4 points per game, a team second behind senior guard Markquis Nowell (17.6), and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game.

Johnson will maintain his college eligibility, as college basketball athletes can declare for the draft and return to school if they pull their name from the draft pool. This path for Johnson could be unlikely, however, as he is projected to be drafted in the second round according to ESPN and Sports Illustrated

Typically declaring while maintaining eligibility allows college athletes to speak to NBA scouts about what improvements are needed before pursuing professional basketball. For Johnson, his past health concerns could play a larger role than his skill level. 

“Kansas State I gave you guys my blood, sweat and tears and in return, you gave me the confidence I needed to take this next step,” Keyontae Johnson said in his announcement. “I will be moving on to the next chapter, but I will still need your love, support and mostly importantly, your prayers.”