MANHATTAN, Kan. (Kansas State Athletics) – Kansas State head coach Jerome Tang added yet another impact transfer to his team on Saturday afternoon (August 20) with the signing of graduate transfer Keyontae Johnson (Norfolk, Va./Oak Hill Academy/Florida) to a Financial Aid Agreement with the program for the 2022-23 season.
A 6-foot-5, 229-pound forward, Johnson arrives at K-State after playing three seasons (2018-21) at Florida, where he earned First Team All-SEC honors as a sophomore in 2019-20 and was the Preseason SEC Player of the Year in 2020-21. He has been sidelined since missing most of the 2020-21 season due to a medical issue.
Overall, Johnson has seen action in 71 games in college, including 55 starts with 32 coming in SEC play. He averaged 10.8 points on 51.2 percent (302-of-580), including 37.3 percent (53-of-142) from 3-point range, with 6.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 steals in 26.8 minutes per game in his Florida career. He has 13 career double-doubles and eight 20-point games, including four 20-point, 10-rebound double-doubles.
“Today is great day to be a Wildcat! We are just so excited to welcome Keyontae and his family to K-State,” said Tang. “He is a gifted player and a winner who brings significant experience to our team after playing in one of the toughest leagues in the country while at Florida. Beyond that, we think Keyontae is just a perfect fit with the guys we already have in the program. We can’t wait to get him to Manhattan and introduce him to Wildcat Nation!”
Johnson will have one year of eligibility remaining after the NCAA granted Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 sport student-athletes an additional year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Education Sciences from Florida in Spring 2022.
Johnson was averaging 19.7 points on 63.9 percent (23-of-36) with 6 rebounds per game through the first 3 games of the 2020-21 season before he was sidelined for the rest of the abbreviated season. He posted 24 points and 12 rebounds against Boston College on Dec. 3, 2020, to become just the eighth Florida player over the past 25 seasons with a stat line of at least 24 points and 12 rebounds. He joined a club that includes such Gator legends as Kerry Blackshear, Matt Bonner, David Lee, Erik Murphy and Joakim Noah.
Johnson averaged a team-best 14 points per game, along with 7.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.2 steals, as a sophomore in 2019-20 en route to earning First Team All-SEC honors from the league coaches and Second Team honors from The Associated Press. Florida was headed to the NCAA Tournament with 19 wins, including 11 in SEC play, before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Johnson led the Gators in scoring 15 times and rebounding 13 times in 2019-20, while registering eight double-doubles, including three 20-point and 10-rebound games, which were the most by a Gator since Marreese Speights had four in 2007-08. He registered six games of 20 or more points, including a 20-point effort against Tang while he was associate head coach at Baylor. Among his notable games was a 25-point, 11-rebound and 5-assist performance against LSU on Feb. 26, 2020, which was just third such stat line by a Gator since 1996.
Johnson was twice named MVP of an in-season tournament in 2019-20, averaging 16.3 points and 8.0 rebounds in helping the Gators earn their first holiday championship in 10 years at the 2020 Charleston Classic. He posted 19 points and 10 rebounds against Providence to earn the honor at the 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational.
In all, Johnson connected on 54.4 percent (166-of-305) from the field, including 38 percent (30-of-79) from 3-point range, in 2019-20 while knocking down nearly 77 percent (73-of-95) from the free throw line.
Johnson saw action in all 36 games for the Gators as a true freshman in 2018-19 with 20 starts. He averaged 8.1 points on 47 percent (111-of-236), including 36.5 percent (23-of-63) from 3-point range, with 6.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.1 steals per game in 23.8 minutes per game. He helped Florida win 20 games, including 9 in SEC play, and advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Johnson scored in double figures in 12 games with four double-doubles as a true freshman, including a 20-point, 12-rebound effort against Arkansas, which was the first by a Gator freshman in the SEC Tournament since 2000. Three of his four double-doubles came in the postseason, including two in the SEC Tournament. His 10-point, 10-rebound effort against Nevada in the 2019 NCAA Tournament was just third-ever by a Florida freshman in the Big Dance, joining Mike Miller (1999) and Bradley Beal (2012).
Johnson played his senior season for legendary high school coach Steve Smith at famed Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va., where he helped the Warriors to a 44-2 overall record and a trip to the semifinals of the GEICO National Tournament in 2017-18. He averaged better than 18 points per game on 66 percent shooting, posting 19 games with 18 or more points. He was named MVP of the 2018 Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions in Springfield, Mo., after scoring 21.7 points per game.
Johnson was rated as a four-star prospect out of Oak Hill and a member of the ESPN 100.
Johnson is the ninth player to sign with the Wildcats since Tang was introduced as the program’s head coach on March 21, including the seventh Division I transfer following Cam Carter (Mississippi State), Jerrell Colbert (LSU), Abayomi “Baybe” Iyiola (Stetson/Arkansas/Hofstra), David N’Guessan (Virginia Tech), Desi Sills (Arkansas/ Arkansas State) and Tykei Greene (Manhattan/Stony Brook).
Overall, Johnson is the 10th newcomer added to the team for the 2022-23 season. The class also includes a pair of high school standouts in 6-foot-5, 175-pound combo guard Dorian Finister (New Orleans, La./Carver) and 6-foot-8, 215-pound power forward Taj Manning (Grandview, Mo./La Lumiere School [Ind.]), who signed with the previous coaching staff during the Fall 2021 Signing Period.
Season tickets for the 2022-23 home schedule at Bramlage Coliseum are currently on sale.