In March 2022, before Thunder draft pick Keyontae Johnson transferred from Florida to Kansas State, a woman accused Johnson of alleged sexual assault at an off-campus party. Four months later, charges against Johnson were dismissed.
The Thunder selected Johnson with the No. 50 pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night. The Oklahoman reached out to the Thunder for comment on if the team was aware of the sexual assault allegations brought against Johnson, and if so, why the Thunder was comfortable selecting him in the draft.
“We reviewed the dismissal of the charges from 2022 as part of our normal due diligence process applied to all prospects,” a Thunder spokesperson said Saturday.
Details of the allegations brought against Johnson were first reported by WUFT in Gainesville, Florida. After the Alachua County State Attorney’s Office dropped the investigation, Johnson released the following statement to the Florida student newspaper:
“This has been a really difficult situation for everybody involved,” wrote Johnson, who maintained his innocence. “I just hope that we all can move forward from here and find peace. My goal now is to choose a school where I can continue my education and basketball career.”
Johnson did so at Kansas State, where he averaged 17.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game last season. Johnson, a 6-foot-5 wing, shot 41% from 3-point range.
It was a remarkable comeback for Johnson, who returned to the court after an absence of almost two years. In November 2020, during Johnson’s junior season at Florida, Johnson collapsed face first onto the court during a game at Florida State.
Johnson went into a medically-induced coma for what was later revealed as “athlete’s heart,” which, according to Stanford Health Care, is an “increase in cardiac mass due to systematic training.”
Johnson, old for a rookie at 23, has since been medically cleared to play.
“Keyontae is a player we feel can contribute right away,” said Acie Law IV, the Thunder’s director of amateur evaluation. “That helps him, his experience and the resiliency that he’s shown and his talent. We feel like that’s a player that can come in, and obviously want to get him here and get him to work and we feel like that’s a player that can help us.”
This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: OKC Thunder reviewed dismissed charges against Keyontae Johnson
Source: Yahoo Sports