MANHATTAN, Kansas (KSNT) — If there was a Comeback Participant for Life award, Keontay State ahead Keontay Johnson may win it.
“Two years felt like 4,” Johnson mentioned. “Quite a lot of days the place you are down.”
Johnson doesn’t play basketball as somebody who has taken two years off.
“To get out of the gate so shortly, I do not assume anybody anticipated that,” mentioned Korea State males’s basketball coach Jerome Tang.
Even his teammates had been stunned at how shortly Johnson improved.
“You count on to see some form of rust or some form of course of to get again on prime,” mentioned Marquis Noel, a senior ranger at Kay State. “For him, instantly, as a result of he was in a position to begin operating and join, it was elite.”
On December 12, 2020, Johnson handed out after a layoff through the Florida/Florida State males’s basketball recreation.
“It was principally a bizarre factor,” Johnson mentioned. “They’re nonetheless attempting to get the exams achieved. They nonetheless have my medical stuff, in order that they’re nonetheless searching for it and doing a whole lot of analysis behind it.”
Thankfully, the one harm he sustained was a damaged lip, so there wasn’t a lot to get better from. Nonetheless, Johnson had hassle getting medical doctors cleared to return to basketball as a result of uncertainty surrounding his breakdown. He hasn’t been within the recreation he loves for nearly two full seasons.
“I knew groups can be afraid to danger bringing me in, so Coach Tang informed me from day one which he wasn’t afraid,” Johnson mentioned. “He simply noticed how I may assist this system, which made it particular for me to return right here.”
Johnson had little doubt that he needed to play Division I basketball once more.
“There was no apprehension on his half or ours,” Tang mentioned. “He needed to play. There’s a whole lot of need in him. He simply loves the sport of basketball.”
When he was lastly in a position to play once more, a faculty with high quality medical workers was one in all his prime priorities when he was within the switch gate.
“I needed to discover the precise faculty that had the proper medical crew,” Johnson mentioned. “There have been a whole lot of colleges I needed to go to, however drugs wasn’t updated. I simply felt like, with Coach Tang, he had an identical scenario at Baylor with one in all his former gamers. How they had been updated with the medical doctors, ensuring I used to be going To all of the medical doctors’ appointments. To at the present time we nonetheless do a whole lot of medical doctors’ appointments.”
Johnson would not fear about collapsing once more, however his coaches and teammates ensure they care for him anyway.
“We’re very grateful that Mother and Dad had been at peace about our staff,” Tang mentioned. “That features Luke and Phil, and Dr. Wahl, all the pieces we’ve got to assist the Keyontae and keep watch over all the pieces.”
By way of all of it, his aim has remained the identical: to play within the NBA. This flexibility is an inspiration for this era and the subsequent.
“For me, it is simply such a blessing to see how a lot children take pleasure in watching me play,” mentioned Johnson. “I may have given up. I really feel like this might have modified lots of people’s life-style, simply seeing me quit and feeling prefer it was the precise manner to surrender.”
Johnson shortly turns into a celeb in Manhattan, however his attain is affecting the nation.
“He is a rock star right here,” mentioned Noel. “He offers fives. He shakes palms with youngsters. He talks to them and is clear with them. That is why they love him a lot.”
Johnson averages 18.4 factors and seven.1 rebounds per recreation as Okay-State basketball embraces his contributions as an electrical starter. The Wildcats are 15-2 total and 4-1 in Huge 12 play. Okay-State will host KU within the first two video games of the ‘Sunflower Showdown’ of the season on Tuesday, January seventeenth.