With four days to go before the NBA trade deadline, the Indiana Pacers announced their intention to send 2nd year guard Orlando Johnson back to the University of California, Santa Barbara men’s basketball team.
The Pacers struggled to find any suitors for the former Gaucho, but Athletic Director Mark Massari didn’t hesitate in pulling the trigger after news that Indiana was shopping around the rookie shooting guard.
“We know that Johnson isn’t flourishing in Indiana as he did at UCSB, but we saw this as a prosperous opportunity to really make a move in the Big West Conference and hopefully into the NCAA Tournament,” said Massari.
Johnson has only been averaging 4 points per game in 12 minutes of average playing time with the Indiana Pacers this season. During his UCSB glory days, he averaged 19.7 points per game and led the Gauchos to a Big West Title during the 2011-2012 season.
“I don’t know why Indiana didn’t utilize [Johnson] more,” said Gaucho head coach Bob Williams. “It’s not like they have any comparable guards, besides Paul George. And George Hill.”
“And Lance Stephenson,” added Williams.
In exchange for Johnson, the Indiana Pacers received the 61-bell Storke Tower carillon as a special gift to Pacers center and noted carillon-enthusiast Roy Hibbert.
“With the acquisition of this magnificent musical instrument, I finally have the necessary ingredients to form the all-carillon chamber ensemble I’ve always dreamed of,” said Hibbert.
While Johnson’s addition inarguably imbibes the Gauchos with a dominant perimeter presence, expert analysts still expect the #1 ranked Big West team to finish dead last in next month’s NCAA tournament.