Orlando Johnson ’12 signed a 10-day contract with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns in early February. Johnson was a standout on the Gauchos men’s basketball team and was named a Big West Player of the Year in 2009-10. He earned All-Big West honors three different times.
This season Johnson was named a 2016 NBA D-league (Development League) All Star for his play with the Austin Spurs. This is the third NBA team Johnson has played for, including stints with Indiana from 2012 to 2013 and Sacramento from 2013 to 2014.
Johnson was the 36th overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft. His professional best was a 15 point game for Indiana in 2013. This season at Austin, he shot 48 percent of his three pointers and performed better than 80 percent from the free throw line. This is his second season with Austin.
Junior soccer player Nick DePuy turned down a $100,000 advance from the Generation Adidas professional development league in order to return to UC Santa Barbara for his senior year, according to Santa Barbara News Press sports editor Mark Patton.
“Honestly, it’s the first time in our program’s history that we had a player actually turn down a Generation Adidas contract,” UCSB Soccer Coach Tim Vom Steeg told Patton.
At least four Gauchos have accepted Adidas contracts -- Eric Avila, Sam Garza, Michael Tetteh and Ciaron O’Briend. Only Avila was able to parlay the contract into a professional soccer career.
Patton highlighted three Gauchos who made it into the pros and flourished -- Luis Silva, Danny Kennedy and Tim Pontius – who all completed four years as Gauchos. DePuy was named a first team All American last year while scoring 15 goals in only his second season as a forward.
Barbara Nwaba ’12 who starred on the track at UCSB, has won the pentathalon competition at the U.S. Combined Events Championships in Nebraska. She scored a personal record 4,415 points and will next compete in the World Indoor Championships in Portland, Oregon in March. Last year she won the heptathlon title in the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championship. She is working to qualify for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, training with the Santa Barbara Track Club.
Men’s basketball coach Bob Williams joined a small, elite group of West Coast coaches when UCSB beat UC Riverside 65-55 on Feb. 18. It was Williams’ 300th win in the Big West Conference. Only UNLV’s Jerry Tarkanian and Pacific’s Bob Thomason have as many victories in the league. “It’s a testament to old age,” Williams later quipped.