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Johnson Selected by Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Draft


By: Kansas State University Athletics


BROOKLYN, N.Y. ( – Senior forward Keyontae Johnson was selected with the No. 50 pick by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the 2023 NBA Draft presented by State Farm on Thursday night (June 22) at the Barclays Center.

Johnson is the first player to be drafted out of K-State since Wes Iwundu (Orlando Magic) was taken in the 2017 NBA Draft with the 33rd selection. He is the first K-State player to be drafted since the Thunder moved to Oklahoma City in 2008. He is the second Wildcat to be drafted by the franchise and the first since Steve Honeycutt was selected by the Seattle Supersonics in 1969.

Overall, Johnson is the 51st Wildcat selected in the NBA Draft dating back to 1947.

“It’s just a tremendous relief,” said Johnson. “I just trusted the process and knew that I would playing in the NBA.”

Johnson was joined in the Thunder draft class by Duke’s Dereck Lively III and Clemson’s Hunter Tyson.

Johnson is the 13th draft pick developed by head coach Jerome Tang in his coaching career, joining former Baylor players Ekpe Udoh (2010), Perry Jones III (2012), Quincy Acy (2012), Quincy Miller (2012), Pierre Jackson (2013), Cory Jefferson (2014), Taurean Prince (2016), Davion Mitchell (2021), Jared Butler (20021), Jeremy Sochan (2022) and Kendall Brown (2022) as well as former Heritage Christian player Von Wafer (2005).

Johnson was one of four Big 12 players selected in the draft, joining Kansas’ Gradey Dick (No. 13, Toronto Raptors), Baylor’s Keyonte George (No. 16, Utah Jazz) and Kansas’ Jalen Wilson (No. 51, Brooklyn Nets).

The 6-foot-6, 230-pound forward from Norfolk, Va., was named a Third Team All-American by The Associated Press and NABC after averaging 17.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 34.1 minutes per game en route to helping K-State to a 26-win season and the Elite Eight. A finalist for the Julius Erving Small Forward Award, he was also honored as the Phillips 66 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year and named to the All-Big 12 First Team.

Teammate and fellow All-American Markquis Nowell did not get selected in the NBA Draft, but it was reported signed a 2-way contract with the Toronto Raptors late Thursday night.