Gainesville, Florida. Former Florida forward Keyontae Johnson, who collapsed during a game in December 2020 and has not played since, is heading to Kansas State to restart his college career.
Johnson made the announcement on social media, choosing the Wildcats over other Memphis, Nebraska, and Western Kentucky finalists. The 23-year-old Norfolk, Virginia native will have one year of eligibility left, although he can petition the NCAA for an extension of one more year.
Johnson graduated from Florida in late April and announced transfer plans days later. K-State and new coach Jerome Tang hosted Johnson during a recruiting visit in July.
“We are very pleased to welcome Keyontae and his family to Kei State,” Tang said in a statement. “He is a gifted player and winner who has brought significant experience to our team after playing in one of the nation’s toughest leagues in Florida. In addition, we think that Keyontae is just perfect for the guys who are already in our program. We can’t wait to take him to Manhattan and introduce him to the feral cat nation!”
Johnson revealed that he had received medical clearance to play again, which Florida officials said would not happen in Gainesville. He will now have a chance to face his former team next season; K-State hosts the Gators on January 28 as part of the annual SEC-Big 12 Challenge.
Johnson at 6’5 and 230 pounds could be a potential game-changer for the Wildcats, who are rebuilding under Tang after finishing 14-17 in coach Bruce Weber’s final year in Manhattan. Johnson averaged 14 points and 7.1 rebounds in his last full season (2019-20) in Florida. In his sophomore year, he was selected to the Southeastern Conference First Team.
He still has a $5 million insurance policy that will pay out if he never plays again. Politics allows him to take part in several games to test his health. If it exceeds the set number of games, any potential payout will be voided.
Johnson’s insurance policy went into effect five months before he collapsed face down on a court in Florida. The 2020 Southeastern Conference preseason of choice became an injury patient when he collapsed to the floor seconds after breaking the team crowd in Game 4 of the season postponed due to COVID-19.
Johnson received emergency medical treatment in front of teammates, opponents and fans before being rushed to a Tallahassee hospital. He spent 10 nights in hospitals before returning home. But he was never allowed to return to training with the Gators.
His parents said their son’s collapse last year was unrelated to a previous positive COVID-19 test, citing an advisory panel that included experts from four respected medical schools. The family did not say what doctors think caused the episode or if Johnson has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator.
Johnson has spent much of the last two seasons cheering on teammates off the bench as he continued to attend school and receive a scholarship.
He actually took to the court to do some ceremonial dribbling and say goodbye in a senior game against Kentucky in early March.
LEXINGTON, Kentucky. Kentucky will host its annual blue-and-white men’s basketball showdown in Eastern Kentucky to help those affected by the devastating summer floods.
The school announced that the Appalachian Wireless Arena event in Pikeville will host a pre-game Fan Fest on October 22. Ticket proceeds will go through Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief.
Wildcat players will also be involved in community service with local relief organizations.
Kentucky coach John Calipari said the team was excited to play for Eastern Kentucky fans and added, “We hope we can provide temporary shelter through basketball and community involvement.”
The fight is traditionally held at the Rupp Arena. This will come eight days after Big Blue Madness’s public workout at Rupp.
LEXINGTON, Kentucky. Kentucky coach Kira Elsie says freshman Tionna Herron is recovering from open-heart surgery to correct a structural abnormality.
The 6-foot, 4-year-old mail carrier learned of her condition after arriving at school in June and received different opinions before surgery was recommended. Senior coach Courtney Jones said in a press release that Herron underwent surgery Aug. 24 at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston and is recovering at home in DeSoto, Texas.
Elsie said that Herron “is the epitome of a warrior” and everyone is grateful to be on the other side of the player’s operation. Herron is expected to return to campus early next month and continue rehab until she is allowed to return to normal activities.
“Her will and determination to eventually get back on the court is inspiring and it is this attitude towards the game that makes her the perfect fit for our program,” Elsie said in a press release. “We are so excited to have Tionna back in our dressing room; it’s not the same without our whole team.”
Herron moved to Kentucky during the early signing period last fall, is rated a four-star prospect and is among the top 70 players in last year’s class. Kentucky won last year’s Southeastern Conference tournament and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
SUPERIOR TOWNSHIP, Michigan. Emony Bates, a former basketball prodigy who moved to Eastern Michigan from Memphis, has been charged with two felony charges after police found a gun in a car during a traffic stop.
Bates, 18, was unable to stop at an intersection Sunday night and a gun was found during a search, said Derrick Jackson, a spokesman for the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office.
Defense attorney Steve Haney told The Associated Press that the car and gun did not belong to Bates.
“I hope people can hold back on judgment and understand that there is a benefit of the doubt,” Haney said. “It was not his car. It wasn’t his gun. … We are still gathering facts.”
Bates was charged with concealed carry and altering the markings on firearms. He was released after his lawyer pleaded not guilty. The next hearing in the Bates case will take place on October 6.
“This is his first run-in with the law,” Haney said in court. “He poses no threat or risk to society.”
Less than a month ago, the 6-foot Bates moved to Eastern Michigan to play for his hometown Eagles. Bates averaged nearly 10 points per game last season as a freshman at Memphis, where he enrolled after reclassifying to skip a year of high school and join the class of 2021.
“We are aware of the situation with one of our student athletes,” EMU spokesman Greg Steiner said in a statement. “We are working to collect more details and will provide additional comments when more information becomes available.”
Bates was the first sophomore to win the 2020 high school basketball Gatorade National Player of the Year award, defeating Cade Cunningham and Evan Mobley. Last year, Detroit selected Cunningham with the first overall pick, two picks before the Clevelands took Mobley in the 2021 NBA draft.
Bates committed to playing for Tom Izzo at Michigan State two years ago but later backed out and signed with Memphis. Bates played in 18 games for the Tigers, which ended 22-11 under Penny Hardaway. Bates missed most of the season with a back injury before appearing in two games in the NCAA Tournament in Memphis.
In 2019, as a freshman in high school, the slender and experienced quarterback led Ypsilanti Lincoln to a state title and was named Michigan Division I Player of the Year by the Associated Press. His second season was interrupted by the pandemic and he attended Ypsi Prep Academy in his junior year, his last year of high school.
STORRS, Connecticut. On Thursday, UConn announced that it had agreed to pay former men’s basketball coach Kevin Ollie another $3.9 million to settle discrimination lawsuits related to his 2018 firing.
The money is in addition to more than $11.1 million in back wages that Ollie has already paid off after an arbitrator ruled in January that he was wrongfully fired under the school’s agreement with the professors’ union.
“I’m grateful that we were able to come to an agreement,” Ollie said in a statement Thursday. “My time at UConn as a student athlete and coach is something I will always cherish. I am glad that this issue has now been completely and finally resolved.
Ollie, the former UConn point guard who led the Huskies to a 127-79 record and the 2014 national championship in six seasons as head coach, was fired after two losing seasons. UConn also stopped paying him on his contract, citing multiple NCAA violations in terminating the deal.
In 2019, the NCAA placed UConn on two-year probation, and Ollie was subject to individual sanctioning for violations that the NCAA determined occurred between 2013 and 2018. the purpose of firing Ollie “for a good reason”.
The school argued that Ollie’s misdeeds were serious and that his individual contract superseded these union protections.
Ollie’s lawyers argued that white coaches, including Hall of Famer Jim Calhoun and women’s coach Jeno Oriemma, also committed NCAA violations but were not fired, and indicated that they planned to file a federal civil rights lawsuit.
The school and Ollie said in a joint statement on Thursday that they have settled the matter “to avoid further costly and protracted litigation.”
Both sides declined to comment further.
Ollie, who has faced three years of NCAA restrictions on becoming a college basketball coach again, currently coaches the Overtime Elite, a league that prepares top non-college prospects for the pros.
TUCSON, Arizona. – Atlanta Dream guard Ari McDonald returns to Arizona to work under coach Adiya Barnes.
The school has announced that McDonald will serve as recruiting director…