SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara's Orlando Johnson and Emilie Johnson have been selected as candidates for the 2011-12 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for men's and women's basketball respectively, it was announced Friday.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their community. Those on the list must be seniors and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. There are 30 men's players and 30 women's players on the 2011-12 list of candidates.
"This is a great honor for Emilie, but also for our entire program," said UCSB's first-year head women's coach Carlene Mitchell. "She is a great example of a true, well-rounded student-athlete and I am extremely happy for her."
Gaucho men's coach Bob Williams shared Mitchell's sentiments about his top player.
"O.J. is a great example of someone who works hard being rewarded for their effort," Williams said. "The thing that makes him so deserving of this type of honor is the type of person he is, not just how good of a basketball player he is. Obviously he is a great player, but more importantly, he is a great person."
Emilie Johnson averaged a team-leading 13.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game as a junior. She also led the team in those categories as a sophomore. She is a Preseason All-Big West choice and was named First Team All-Big West as well as academic all-league in 2010-11. In fact, Emilie Johnson has been a Big West honoree all three of her years at UCSB, earning second team all-league recognition as a sophomore and all-freshman team honors in 2008-09. In October, she played for Team USA at the Pan American Games in Mexico.
Orlando Johnson averaged a team-leading 21.1 points and 6.2 rebounds per game and scored a school record 674 points as a junior. He is a two-time First Team All-Big West selection, a two-time league tournament MVP, a two-time First Team All-District 9 choice and a two-time Mid-Major All-American. Orlando Johnson is also a John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top-50 selection and earlier this week, he was one of 21 players nationally named to the Lute Olson Preseason All-American Team. Finally, Orlando Johnson represented his country as a member of Team USA at the World University Games in China in August.
UCSB is joined by Notre Dame and Florida State as the only schools represented on both the men's and women's lists.
A series of videos featuring Johnson and Johnson - J v J - can be found at UCSB's YouTube channel by clicking here.
Orlando Johnson and the men's team will open its season on Saturday night with a 7:00 p.m. exhibition game at the Thunderdome against San Francisco State. The Gauchos will open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 11 when they host Chapman College.
After opening at Seattle University and Portland State on Nov. 11 and Nov. 13, the UCSB women's team will return home for three straight games, including their opener on Thursday, Nov. 17 against St. Mary's.
Season and single-game tickets for Gaucho men's and women's basketball are available. For information or to purchase, please call 805-893-UCSB (8272), drop by the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus or online by clicking here.