Tag Archives: ollie johnson

Ollie Johnson holds up a frame with his jersey enclosed in it. Johnson played for USF from 1962-1965, and is now just the sixth Don to have his jersey retired. (Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics)

Men’s Basketball: Dons Edge Out Rival Broncos On Ollie Johnson Night

On Saturday, Jan. 25, the Dons held off a late charge from rival Santa Clara and took home the victory by a score of 75-66. The victory came in large part due to the Dons’ 41-24 rebounding advantage over the Broncos, a fitting performance on Ollie Johnson Night, which  celebrated the USF career of the second all-time rebounder and included the retirement of his jersey.

Senior forward Cole Dickerson led the team with 28 points, seven of which came in the last 6:31 of the game and were key to shutting down a spirited Broncos rally. A Dickerson three-pointer capped a 12-6 Dons run and gave them a 66-54 lead with 3:30 to go. After Santa Clara pushing the lead down to four with a little less a minute remaining, junior forward Kruize Pinkins sealed the game with a dunk off of a pass from sophomore guard Avry Holmes. Pinkins was also fouled on the play, and he hit the free throw to put an exclamation point on his 14-point night. For the Broncos, guard Jared Brownridge led the game in scoring with an efficient 30 points, making eight shots on 14 attempts as well as hitting nine of his 10 free throws.

One of the biggest plays of the night came in the first half as junior guard Matt Glover made an emphatic block that led to a Dickerson layup in transition, giving the Dons a 29-14 lead. The block was the highlight of a strong defensive effort in the first half by the Dons, who held the Broncos to 28.5% shooting and only 22 points in the first 20 minutes of play.

The effort shown in the first half by the Dons also carried over to the second, as Santa Clara ended the game shooting only 39% and scoring only four second-chance points. The final rebound tally told the story, with rebound totals of 13 from Glover and 8 from Dickerson adding fuel to the Dons’ fire.

Head coach Rex Walters was pleased with how the team performed in the game’s most critical moments.

“I loved how our guys stepped up at the end of the game and made plays,” Walters said. “I think of Avry [Holmes] getting double-teamed in the corner but still finding Kruize [Pinkins] for a dunk on the other end. Plays like that are special.”

The night also featured a ceremony for former USF player Ollie Johnson where his number 32 jersey was given its own place in the rafters of War Memorial Gym. The event included an appearance from USF President Fr. Stephen Privett, S.J., who read a letter from United States President Barack Obama that congratulated Johnson for his accomplishment.

“This special tribute is a testament to the lasting mark you have left on the University of San Francisco community,” the letter said. “I hope you take pride in your achievements on and off the court, and I wish you all the best.”

In his three seasons with the team Johnson scored 1,668 points, grabbed 1,323 rebounds, was named WCC Player of the Year twice, and led the team to the NCAA tournament every year. He was selected eighth overall in the 1965 NBA draft by the Boston Celtics but never played for them in a game, instead going on to play for the San Francisco Athletic Club and then overseas in Belgium.

With Ollie Johnson and his group of former teammates watching, the Dons improved to 13-8 with the win over the Broncos. San Francisco will resume play on Wednesday, Jan. 29 when they go up against the University of Portland at 7:00 p.m. at War Memorial Gym.

Ollie Johnson Number Retired: Ollie Johnson’s jersey number will become permanently linked to his name on Jan. 25 at War Memorial Gym. Johnson earned his place in USF history by leading the Dons to three NCAA tournaments and receiving WCC Player of the Year honors two times. (Photo courtesy of Dons Athletics)

USF Will Retire Basketball Star Ollie Johnson’s Jersey Number 32

University of San Francisco has decided to retire No. 32 in honor of basketball player Oliver “Olli” Johnson, a two-time West Coast Conference Player of the Year and a 1964-65 All-American. The No. 32 jersey will no longer be worn at

USF after the ceremony before the Dons game against Santa Clara on Jan. 25 at War Memorial Gym.

Johnson, a 6-foot-7-inch power forward from Washington, D.C. played at USF from 1962-1965. He led the Dons to the conference championship and NCAA tournament appearances in all three seasons, picking up All-WCC honors each year along the way. In his final season, Johnson led all players in scoring and rebounding average during the NCAA tournament, racking up 36 points per game and 18.5 rebounds per game.

With 1,668 points and 1,323 rebounds in his career, Johnson is top-ten all-time for the Dons in both categories. After playing out his eligibility at USF, Johnson continued playing basketball professionally. He was drafted 8th overall by the Boston Celtics, but was cut from the team before making his NBA debut. He then joined the San Francisco Athletic Club in the Amateur Athletic Union and was named an AAU All-American in 1965. The following year, Johnson went abroad to play professionally in Belgium for three seasons.

Johnson will be the 10th Dons athlete to have their number retired. Here’s a quick look at what the other nine Dons did to deserve eternal ownership of their USF jersey number.

No. 4 K.C. Jones — Men’s basketball. 

    Jones and teammate Bill Russell led USF to NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956. The duo also helped Team U.S.A. earn a gold medal at the Melbourne Summer Olympics in ‘56. Jones won eight NBA championships with the Boston Celtics, the only team he played for in his nine-season NBA career.

No. 6 Bill Russell — Men’s basketball. 

William Felton “Bill” Russell led the Dons to two NCAA championships in 1955 and 1956, and was part of the gold-medal winning U.S. Olympic Team in ‘56. He won eleven championships in his NBA career as a center for the Boston Celtics, which lasted from 1956 to 1969. He was a twelve-time All-Star and five-time NBA Most Valuable Player.

No. 7 Brittanie Budinger — Women’s volleyball. 

     Budinger was All-West Coast Conference First Team in 2002 and 2003. She was key in earning the Dons their first ever post-season NCAA tournament appearance and was “the most dominant player in USF history,” according to WCCsports.com.

No. 15 Mary Hile-Nepfel — Women’s basketball. 

     Hile-Nepfel is the all-time leading scorer and rebounder for the USF women with a career total of 2,324 points and 1,602 rebounds. She is one of few Dons to average a career double-double. She also led the Dons to a NCAC championship in 1980, and was a three-time Kodak Regional All-American and two-time finalist for the Wade Trophy, the highest award in collegiate women’s basketball.

No. 17 Mike Farmer — Men’s basketball.

The 6-foot-7-inch forward was part of the Dons’ glory years with Bill Russell and K.C. Jones. Farmer was first team all-American in 1957-58. He was taken third overall by the New York Knicks in the 1958 NBA draft and played seven seasons in the NBA. No. 19 Taggert Bozied — Baseball. Bozied was the West Coast Conference Player of the Year in 1999, earning a Triple Crown in season play. He had the highest slugging percentage and the second-most home runs in NCAA Division I, beating out future MLB star Jason Bay. He was first team All-American at third base and second team All-American as a designated hitter. He played in the minor leagues for 10 years.

No. 20 Phil Smith — Men’s basketball. 

A non-recruited walk on who was spotted playing pickup ball on campus, Smith was all-WCC and the leading scorer for the Dons in each of his three varsity seasons. He helped USF to successful appearances in the 1972, 1973 and 1974 NCAA tournaments. Smith was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 1974 and played the next nine seasons in the NBA for the Warriors, the Clippers and the SuperSonics.

No. 24 Bill Cartwright — Men’s basketball. 

Cartwright, a 7-foot-1-inch center, was another Don who averaged a double-double, finishing his four-

year collegiate career with averages of 19.1 points and 10.2 rebounds. He was second team All-American in 1977 and 1979, and took USF to the Sweet 16 and 1978 and 1979. After leaving USF, Cartwright was chosen third in the 1979 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks. He was traded to Chicago in 1988, and went on to win three NBA Championships as a member of the Michael Jordan-led Bulls squad before retiring in 1995. He is currently the head coach for Osaka Evessa in Japan.

No. 40 Brittany Lindhe — Women’s basketball. 

Lindhe was the first four-time selection for all-WCC honors in conference history. She holds the record for most points scored by a USF woman in a road game, with 37 points against Gonzaga. She led the Dons to three WCC championships and a Sweet 16 appearance in 1996.