SCOUTING REPORT: UC Santa Barbara’s Orlando Johnson

PLAYER: Orlando Johnson

Orlando Johnson

Orlando Johnson became the Gauchos' all-time leading scorer this season in only three years at UCSB. (Presidio Sports File Photo)

CLASS: Senior
HEIGHT: 6’5″
POSITION: Guard/Forward
DATE: March 8, 2012
OPPONENT: Pacific University, Big West Conference Tournament

INTRODUCTION: This report was provided by John Slavin and Net Scouts Basketball, a professional scouting service for NBA and International teams. This report was produced after a quarterfinal game at the Big West Tournament currently being played at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

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Johnson is an extremely strong player with an “NBA” type upper & lower body, impressive jumping ability, who finishes extremely strong at the basket. He has exceptional basketball skills and athletic ability. He is skilled enough to play the shooting guard position and strong enough to even play the power forward position in certain situations in college, but projects as shooting guard in the professional ranks.


In 2010-2011, Johnson shot the ball from the field at a high overall percentage of 46.9%, (36.7% from 3-point line) and 82.0% from free throw line. This year, facing double team pressure in every game, the percentages have dropped (Except for 3-point shots) to 45.7% overall, 41.5% from 3-point line, and 68.9% from free throw line. In this blowout game, Johnson played only 30 minutes, going 5-10 from the field, 2-4 from the 3-point line, and 3-5 from the free throw line for 15 points. In past years, he has had free throw shooting difficulty when his release point is too high over his head. He needs to be constantly reminded to lower his release, which he did in two previous years as shown by his 82% free throw percentage last year. He still sometimes exhibits this tendency as shown by his lower free throw percentage this year.


At the guard position, he has the offensive first step to beat his man and penetrate the lane, the shooting skill to shoot over the defenders when they back off, and the strength to finish at the basket. For this reason, Coach Williams sometimes plays him at power forward with small lineups, and, and with UCSB’s difficulties this year in point guard play, he has started at point guard in a number of games. His scoring average for 2011 was 20.3, improving on his 18.0 average in the 2010 season, and he is at 20.0 in 27 games this year, facing much more defensive pressure. He continues to score in double figures in every game, which shows his consistency. He is very unselfish when he faces the many double teams looking & finding open men usually in the basket area, averaging three assists per game, and he had three assists in this game, with two turnovers. He recently became the leading scorer in UCSB history, doing it in 3 years as compared to Alex Harris, who did it in 4 years.


Defensively he pretty much shut down his man in the combination switching man-to-man & match-up zone defenses, and his tendency last season to get into foul trouble seems to have improved, with only two fouls in this game. With his strength, he is able to deny players any good post positions. Rebounding is one of his strongest skills, both offensively & defensively, and he averaged 6.6 per game in 2011 (6.0 so far this year), excellent for a guard. He had 3 rebounds in this game. With his strength & jumping ability he is an excellent rebounder for a guard.


As a freshman at Loyola Marymount University, he led the team in both scoring & rebounding before transferring to UCSB and sitting out the 2008-2009 season. In his senior year of Palma High School in Northern California, he averaged 26 points & 12 rebounds per game, and was named Northern California Player of the year. In 2010 he was honored by being named the Big West Conference Player of the Year. Opposing teams obviously have targeted him as the player to concentrate on in trying to control USCB defensively. He was also the MVP of the Big West Tournament in 2010 leading to a matchup with Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament, where he led his team in scoring with 20 points in the first round loss. Since UCSB as a group underperformed in 2011, as compared to 2010, he was second to Casper Ware of Long Beach State for MVP. He was named to the All Conference First Team. He was again named as the MVP of the conference tournament in 2011, leading UCSB to the NCAA Tournament for the second year in a row, where they lost to Florida in the first round, with Johnson again leading the team in scoring for the game. This year he was again named to the post season Big West First Team.


Johnson contemplated declaring for the draft in 2011, and played very well in the exposure camps. He seems to have made an excellent decision to come back for his senior year with the NBA lockout. I would project Johnson as a low first round or high second round NBA draft pick, where he would need to play the shooting guard position. This summer with intense competition he was selected to represent the USA at the World University Games in China in August and played very well. He would be able to play overseas right now, and would most likely be a star with high level foreign competition. I was impressed how he continued to work hard when experiencing a slump at the beginning of the 2011 league season, and changed his game to be more aggressive attacking the rim to work his way out of the slump. It shows that he has a grasp of the importance of making adjustments to maintain effectiveness and help his team win. He reminds me very much of Shannon Brown of the Phoenix Suns.