FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Last month the college basketball world was stunned when SEC preseason player of the year Forida’s Keyontae Johnson suddenly collapsed during a game.
For one Razorback that scene hit close to home.
Coming out of Parkview High School, Khalil Garland had his pick of college programs. Garland received offers from Memphis, Bama, and Baylor amaong other schools. Garland chose his hometown Hogs, but when he arrived in Fayetteville he was met with an unexpected opponent.
"My Freshman year when I found out I couldn’t play, I was like it’s cool I can get it back I’m a Freshman."
It wasn’t an injury or eligibility keeping Khalil off the court, it was the very thing that got him here. His heart.
"I have a rare heart problem called a cardiomyopathy and basically my heart is not getting enough blood so they told me if I took a hard fall or got hit the wrong way I could pass out or die on the court."
A frightening scene like the one we saw in Tallahassee in December with Keyontae Johnson. Johnson spent a short time in a coma in the hospital before being released and has since rejoined the Gators.
"I mean when I saw it of course I thought that could’ve been me."
Khalil’s playing days are over, but his coaching days are just beginning. "I got an opportunity to talk with him and learn. Not only about him but his character and what his beliefs are."
The former 4-star recruit now helping shape the four freshman who hope to take Arkansas basketball to new heights. "You know they have all this who’s the captain and I say I’m the captain because I want to come in the gym everyday and let them know if we work, we can be a great team."
Khalil is in his second season serving as a student coach and hopes one day to be an NBA scout.