Tuesday Update: Florida Gators Keyontae Johnson Awake and Speaking

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

By: Franz Beard, with Kassidy Hill


The most encouraging news yet on Florida Gators basketball star Keyontae Johnson was received on Tuesday when his parents, Nika and Marrecus Johnson, released a statement through the University Athletic Association.

The statement read as follows:

"Keyontae is in stable condition today, breathing on his own and speaking with us and with his doctors here at UF Health. He even FaceTimed the team! We feel so much love and support from everyone, and we’re beyond grateful for the care and attention that Keyontae has received throughout these past several days.

"We will continue to share updates about Keyontae’s health and progress. We have seen how much people love and care for him. We hope people recognize that information that doesn’t come from us or the athletic department may not be accurate. We are working closely with Keyontae’s doctors and the UAA to provide information to everyone who cares so deeply about Keyontae and has been praying for him."

From Monday:

The University of Florida has issued a statement regarding the health and condition of Keyontae Johnson.

"Keyontae Johnson has been successfully transferred as planned from Tallahassee Memorial to UF Health in Gainesville by ShandsCair. He continues in critical but stable condition, is following simple commands and undergoing further tests."

Earlier Monday afternoon, USAToday reported that Keyontae's grandfather, Larry DeJarnett, had said Keyontae had been placed in a medically induced coma and that doctors planned to bring him out of the coma on Monday afternoon.

From Saturday:

The Florida Gators (3-1) lost a basketball game to 20th-ranked Florida State (3-0) in Tallahassee Saturday. That the Gators lost and the final score was almost inconsequential because following a time out called by the Seminoles with 16:18 remaining in the first half, Keyontae Johnson collapsed on the court. Taken immediately to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, Johnson was described in critical but stable condition.

3:20 p.m. update: Johnson remains in critical but stable condition and will remain overnight at Tallahassee Memorial. Head coach Mike White will remain at the hospital with Johnson.

With Johnson in the game, the Gators were off to an 11-3 lead and looking like a team ready to end FSU's streak of 40-plus games without a loss to a non-Atlantic Coast Conference team. It was Johnson's dunk off an alley-oop that put the Gators ahead 11-3 but after the team huddle, he collapsed while heading back on the court. The Gators were stunned and many players in tears as head coach Mike White gathered them together for a prayer.

They weren't the same team from that point on.

Whereas the Gators did hold their own briefly, long enough to lead 23-14 on a Tyree Appleby 3-pointer with 8:49 to go in the half, this was not the same team with Johnson out of the game. FSU went on a 17-0 run from that point, taking a 31-23 lead before Scottie Lewis converted a 3-point play the old fashioned way with 4:18 left before intermission to stop the bleeding.

Florida was able to close the FSU lead to 36-33 on a Noah Locke 3-ball with 1:56 to go in the half but that was as close as the Gators came the rest of the game. FSU closed out the half on a 9-2 run for a 45-35 lead.

The Gators struggled against the FSU pressure throughout the second half, falling behind by as many as 18 points (59-41) before they mounted a charge in the final 10 minutes of the game to make it respectable. A dunk by Colin Castleton with 46 seconds left closed the gap to 81-71, as close as Florida came since the start of the half.

Lewis led the Gators with 19 points, four rebounds, three assists, three blocked shots and two steals while Tre Mann finished with 17 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and a steal.

Next up for the Gators is North Florida at the O-Dome Wednesday night.

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