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Kansas State star Keyontae Johnson is one step closer to realizing his NBA dream. Johnson, a key part of K-State’s Elite Eight run in the 2023 NCAA Tournament, is officially eligible to be drafted in the 2023 event after being cleared by the NBA’s Fitness to Play Panel.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news Friday evening.
The Fitness to Play Panel has previously ruled on athletes such as Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat, whose career was shortened by an ailment related to blood clots, and Baylor’s Jared Butler as he pursued a selection in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Johnson is not long removed from a heart ailment that led to him collapsing on the court during a game in the 2020-21 season, when he was with the Florida Gators.
His return to the court at K-State — and the success that followed — made him an inspirational story. And after rebounding from his health issue and time away from the game to average 17.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game at K-State, he declared for the NBA Draft while maintaining his college eligibility.
Johnson has until May 31 to make a final decision on his draft status but now has a clear runway to be selected in the 2023 event. He is currently slotted as the No. 46 overall prospect on ESPN’s big board.
The draft is set for Thursday, June 22, 2023, in Brooklyn.