NEXT LEVEL WATCH: Orlando Johnson signs with Sacramento

Orlando Johnson - NBA

Orlando Johnson returns to the team that drafted him, the Sacramento Kings, after one and a half seasons with the Indiana Pacers.

Former UCSB basketball star Orlando Johnson signed a 10-day contract with the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday and will be available for tonight’s game against the L.A. Lakers.

Johnson – the leading career scorer at UC Santa Barbara – was waived by the Indiana Pacers last week. He was a second-round draft pick of the Kings in 2012 before his rights were traded to Indiana.

Sacramento Kings coach Michael Malone likes what Johnson brings to the table.

“I know he’s going to come in here for 25 games and push all the guys around him,” Malone told the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones. “He’s going to be one of the first guys here and last guys to leave, and on top of that he’s a talented player.”

Malone added: “We can’t get enough guys that want to work hard, want to push the guys around them and are willing to buy in to the culture that we need to create here. I think Orlando represents all those things. I’m not trying to make him out to be Michael Jordan, I don’t want everybody to get carried away. But I think he’s a nice addition at this stage of the season, we’ll see it how goes and go from there.”

Find the rest of the report from the Sacramento Bee HERE

Hill, Neushul take home MPSF Player of the Week awards (By Peter Neushul)

Kiley Neushul and Stanford won the Stanford Invitational and placed third at the most-recent UCI Invite.

Kiley Neushul and Stanford won the Stanford Invitational and placed third at the most-recent UCI Invite.

Santa Barbara Waterpolo’s Kodi Hill and Kiley Neushul opened the 2014 collegiate season with a bang as both garnered MPSF “Player of the Week” honors.

Hill led the Bruins to victory at the UCLA Invitational scoring a total of six goals in four games while recording 10 assists and seven steals.

At the Stanford Invitational, Neushul led Stanford University to the championship while scoring eleven goals.

Hill and Neushul, longtime SBWPC and Dos Pueblos High School teammates, went head to head in the title match where Stanford prevailed 8-4.  Each scored one goal in the final.  Kodi’s older sister, Sami Hill, played an outstanding game in goal for the Bruins, stopping ten shots including a first quarter lob from Jamie Neushul, a freshman at Stanford.

UCLA returned the favor at last weekend’s UCI Invite as the Bruins topped Stanford 9-6 in the semifinals before falling to No. 1 USC in the tournament final.

All four collegians along with Tiera Schroeder (Cal) competed on Dos Pueblos High School’s record breaking teams that won four straight CIF Championships including a two-year undefeated record of 67-0.  Sami Hill and Kiley Neushul are members of USA’s Senior National Team that won the 2014 Holiday Cup with victories over Holland, Russia, Canada, Australia, and Greece.  Kodi Hill, Kiley Neushul, and Tiera Schroeder (Cal) led Team USA to the 2013 Junior World Championship in Volos Greece over the summer.  Kelsey O’Brien, a Freshman at UCLA, also played in the championship game.  Madeline Trabucco and Schroeder led Cal to third place at the Stanford Invitational with 12-6 victory over UCI.  Trabucco, a freshman, is the Bear’s starting goalie.

Santa Barbara Water Polo Club is well represented nationally with twenty-three players on Division I NCAA’s water polo teams.  Names to watch for this season include Sami Hill, Kodi Hill, and Kelsey O’Brien (UCLA); Tiera Schroeder and Madeline Trabucco (Cal), Kiley Neushul and Jamie Neushul (Stanford); Ashlea Coski and Alisa Argend (San Jose State); Laurel Kistler and Leah Gonzales (UCSD); Amanda Redfern (Indiana); Jade Wentz Fitzgerald, Sophie Trabucco, Tess Wardle, and Miranda Schrader (UCSB); Brittny Hummel (Sonoma State); Charlotte Hendrix (Harvard); Chandler Vilander (George Washington); MacKenzy Fowler (Cal State Northridge); Noelle Mann (UOP); Rose Koper (Claremont); and Hannah Koper (Brown).

BAIDEN SIGNS WITH CREW

UCSB’s Fifi Baiden signed a MLS contract with the Columbus Crew.

Baiden was a third-round pick of the Crew in the MLS Super Draft. He was an outstanding holding midfielder for the Gauchos.

“Fifi’s fearless,” Columbus coach Gregg Berhalter said on the team web site. “He’s small in stature but he has a big heart and he works tremendously hard. He’s extremely fit, he’s strong, and he’s very good technically so he fits exactly what we’re looking for at that position.”

Baiden is a native of Ghana and part of the Right to Dream Academy in Accra, the capital. He earned a scholarship to Dunn School in Los Olivos and completed four years at UCSB. He played in 76 games for the Gauchos and started 63.

He earned first-team All-Big West honors as a junior and was a second-team choice after his senior season. Top Drawer Soccer named him one of the top 10 college midfielders in the country.

LOCHHEAD BACK IN SO CAL

Former UCSB soccer All-American Tony Lochhead has returned to Southern California and is playing for Chivas USA, joining Gauchos Danny Kennedy and Eric Avila on the MLS squad.

Lochhead, a left-sided defender, and Kennedy, the goalkeeper, were teammates on the 2004 Gaucho team that put UCSB soccer on the map and made history. The team reached the NCAA College Cup final for the first time, losing to Indiana in a penalty-kick shootout.

Lochhead, 32, played for his native New Zealand in the 2010 World Cup. The All-Whites went unbeaten in their three group-play matches (all draws) that year. He had been playing professionally with the Wellington Phoenix in Australia’s A League.

Lochhead is the second former Gaucho to come back to California after a professional career overseas. Rob Friend, also a teammate of Lochhead and Kennedy at UCSB, played in Europe for 11 years before signing with the L.A. Galaxy last month.

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