First-Round Darkhorse: Orlando Johnson, UCSB
Johnson jumped onto NBA personnel's radar after transferring during his freshman season for Loyola Marymount to Santa Barbara, which isn't exactly a pipeline for prospect. Three years later, the Gaucho senior guard teeters on the border of the first-round of June's NBA Draft and don't be surprised to hear his name called between picks 20-30. Even with some spectacular all-around production at UCSB and with Team USA in the World University Games last summer, Johnson could be climbing even quicker as individual workouts and the combines take place.
This past weekend in New Jersey, Johnson may have done the most in boosting his stock of the 40+ players in attendance as his on-court production was strong, but his physical measurements were even more impressive. He stood 6'4 ½" in shoes, a chiseled 223 pounds with about 10 percent body fat and a fantastic wingspan of 6'11". Adding onto the profile, he boasted a 34" no-step vertical and 39" vert with a step, second-best at the workout.
The versatile Johnson was as much of a focal point of Santa Barbara's offense as any other player on any other team the past few seasons. Not only is he a deadly scorer from the perimeter (.427 percent from 3), but he has the quickness, the ball-handling and the aggressive nature to attack the lane. He even shifted over to play some point guard as a senior to display his ability to run the offense and utilize the pick-and-roll to his advantage. What makes him so dangerous is the range and confidence in his jumper; Johnson has an uncanny ability to take and make difficult shots, especially off the dribble. He needs the most marginal of openings to rise-up with his explosive bounce and knock down the shot over his defender. And around the basket, his athleticism, length and strength take over to finish at the rim.
By President Corey Ruff - 5 - 22 - 12