Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
UC Santa Barbara rising senior Orlando Johnson, who overcame the death of six relatives before he was a teenager, has been selected to represent the USA as a flag bearer for Friday’s Opening Ceremony of the 2011 World University Games.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Johnson, whose mother, Vicki Renée Johnson, passed away when he was 1. “I was proud to make the USA Basketball team and to play for my country, and now to carry the flag and lead the U.S. delegation feels very special. I feel very honored.”
After the death of his mother, his grandmother took Orlando in. Then, when he was six, four of his relatives died in a house fire. Following the death of his grandmother at age 11, his two older brothers put their lives on hold to raise him.
“I just hope I don’t fall,” joked Johnson.
“I hope that I can help bring honor to my country and hold the flag high and hold it proud,” he continued. “I’m definitely looking forward to it, walking out with the rest of the athletes who are all here to compete and do our best.”
Johnson began his collegiate career at Loyola Marymount University (Calif.), where he averaged 12.4 ppg., 4.9 rpg. and 2.1 apg. in the 2007-08 season. Following a coaching change at Loyola Marymount he moved closer to home and transferred to UCSB, where he averaged 18.0 ppg. as a redshirt sophomore in 2009-10 and 21.1 ppg. as a junior in 2010-11. The 2010 Big West Conference Player of the Year and 2011 Big West Tournament MVP became the first Gaucho since 1996-97 to score in double figures in every game over an entire season when he did so during the 2009-10 season.
Johnson is the third known USA Basketball athlete to lead the USA World University Games Team into the Opening Ceremonies, after Alexis Gray-Lawson (2009) and Randy Foye (2005).
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.