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Leonard Hamilton, Florida State emotional after Keyontae Johnson's collapse: 'This is bigger than basketball'

Ryan Young
·Writer
·2 min read
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Though he wasn’t a member of their team, Florida player Keyontae Johnson’s collapse on the court Saturday left Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton and his players stunned.

The terrifying situation even resulted in many of his players crying on the court.

“I was moved by the outpouring of emotions from [my players],” Hamilton said Monday, via USA Today. “Several guys were crying uncontrollably in the huddle after it happened. I told the guys, ‘[The only] thing we can do right now is pray.’”

Even when play resumed at the Donald L. Tucker Center — No. 15 Florida State won 83-71 — Hamilton said his players were still in shock.

“One of my players was so emotional that after the timeout he was still crying,” he said, via USA Today. “I did not realize it was still on his mind but then a [referee] came and told me.

“Then I realized what was going on was really, really deep.”

Johnson — who was voted the SEC Preseason Player of the Year — collapsed during the game on Saturday and was taken off the court on a stretcher. He was transported to a local hospital in Tallahassee, and then moved to a hospital in Gainesville on Monday. He was placed in a medically induced coma Monday. Johnson is in “critical but stable condition” and “is following simple commands and undergoing further tests,” the team said.

A specific diagnosis or cause isn’t clear. Florida has since canceled its game Wednesday against North Florida.

Seminoles players, per the report, have since sent cards and flowers to Johnson at the hospital and organized team prayers.

“We are all competitors,” Hamilton said, via USA Today. “We sometimes forget how fragile life is … This is bigger than basketball.

“It just shows how appreciative we should be for what we have instead of all the bickering and stuff going on in society. We are all human beings and should be leading with love and compassion for everybody.”

Why did they finish the game?

Many have wondered why both teams finished the game at all, especially after seeing how terrifying Johnson’s collapse was.

Hamilton said Monday that, in the moment, he just stepped back. The decision was up to Florida, he said, and he was going to respect whatever the Gators wanted to do.

“I told our staff I was going to let [Florida] make that decision,” Hamilton said, via USA Today. “It was totally up to them and whatever they thought was in the best interest of their team, then I would accept it and act accordingly. Our administration asked me, and I just told them that I would be OK with whatever [Florida] decided, and it was my understanding that they wanted to play.”

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton
Florida State players were left stunned and in tears after seeing Florida's Keyontae Johnson collapse on the court on Saturday. (David Allio/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images)

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