Men’s basketball Head Coach Bob Williams told his star guard Orlando Johnson to consider the NBA back in September.
“I recommended it,” he said. “[I told him,] ‘if you had a good year, you should go work out with them, have them communicate with you and utilize that information.’”
Johnson performed well at the NBA scout camp in New Jersey over the weekend but opted out of his NBA Draft eligibility to spend his senior season at UCSB for a chance at a third consecutive Big West title and NCAA tournament appearance.
A press release from Gaucho Athletics indicated that Johnson, a sociology major, returned primarily to graduate and obtain a college degree.
“Part of it’s the education,” Williams said. “The other part of it is that it’s a bad year to come out [of college].”
Williams cited the looming NBA lockout and the fact that the NBA may not have a development league anymore.
“Also, [it’s] the idea of finishing something and maybe having a special senior year that he could carry with him the rest of his life,” he said.
Johnson led the Gauchos with 21.1 ppg last season and an 8-8 conference record during the regular season.
After beating Cal Poly 49-43 in their final regular season game and entering the tournament with the No. 5 seed, the Gauchos won three more games to take their second consecutive Big West title. Johnson was named MVP of the tournament.
Twenty-five NBA teams were represented at the camp Johnson attended over the weekend.
“[Camp] was a pretty good experience,” Johnson said. “I got a chance to play against the top college players in the draft. [I] went out there and did a good job. Now I can go back and keep building on this my senior year.”