« Men’s Basketball 2011-12

Orlando Johnson

UC Santa Barbara


Johnson has a 2.70 grade point average and will graduate with his degree in sociology, most likely, after the winter quarter of school at UC Santa Barbara.


Johnson’s ability to overcome adversity throughout his life has helped him develop his character.  He never knew his father, and his mother was murdered when he was one. When he was six, four additional members of his family died in a house fire.  Following the death of his grandmother when he was 11, Johnson’s brothers, one of whom was still in high school, put their lives on hold to raise him.  Growing up in the rough town of Seaside, Calif., next to Monterey, Johnson always stayed out of trouble and ultimately earned a college scholarship to play basketball. His leadership traits and character, along with his ability as a basketball player, were the reasons that he was selected to lead the United States delegation as the flag bearer at the Opening Ceremonies of World University Games in Shenzhen, China in August of 2011.


Johnson has given back to his community. He has devoted time to visiting young cancer victims in the Pediatric Cancer Unit at Santa Barbara’s Cottage Hospital. Johnson has played a major role in UCSB basketball’s “Mathletes” program. He has visited numerous elementary schools in the Santa Barbara area to help tutor disadvantaged and at-risk youth in mathematics as well as teach them how to incorporate sports in general, and basketball specifically, in the learning process.  In each of the last three Christmas seasons, Johnson has taken part in the Gauchos’ “Holiday Hoops and Best Swishes” program.  The UCSB basketball program sets the goal of raising $5,000 and then takes 50 disadvantage kids and treats them to $100 spending sprees at the local Kmart.  These are kids who get little else at Christmas.  Finally, Johnson was part of UCSB’s salute to local firefighters. In the past few years, there have been four devastating fires in the Santa Barbara area and Gaucho basketball players delivered free tickets to games to several of the local fire stations as a thank you for their efforts.


Johnson is a two-time Big West Tournament Most Valuable Player, a two-time Big West Conference scoring champion, a two-time First Team All-Big West choice, a two-time Lou Henson Mid-Major All-American and the 2010 Big West Player of the Year.  As a junior, he averaged 21.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while leading UCSB to its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance.  It is the first time in school history that the Gauchos have gone to consecutive NCAA Tournaments.  Also, as a junior, Johnson tied the school record by scoring 39 points in a game, and he set a school record for points in a season in 2010-11 with 674.  During the summer of 2011, he was a member of Team USA at the World University Games, starting four of the eight games and playing a significant role in all eight.