1948 US Olympic Basketball

Games of the XIVth Olympiad — 1948

London, England • July 30 – August 13, 1948

An easy United States march to the gold proved in the first post-World War II Olympiad that the U.S. remained the world leader in basketball. Obviously, a war-torn Europe had not had the opportunities to advance the game like the United States and South America. In fact, five of the eight teams in the quarterfinals were from the Americas, and a sixth, Argentina, almost upset the U.S. in the preliminaries.


(USA Basketball Photos)

1948 USA RESULTS (8-0)

USA 86 Switzerland 21
USA 53 Czechoslovakia 28
USA 59 Argentina 57
USA 66 Egypt 28
USA 61 Peru 33
USA 63 Uruguay 28
USA 71 Mexico 40
USA 65 France 21


1. United States (8-0) 13. Cuba (4-3)
2. France (5-2) 14.Iran (2-5)
3. Brazil (7-1) 15.Argentina (4-4)
4. Mexico (5-2) 16. Hungary (3-5)
5. Uruguay (5-3) 17.Italy (4-4)
6. Chile (4-4) 18.China (5-3)
7. Czechoslovakia (4-4) 19. Egypt (2-6)
8. Korea (3-5) 20. Great Britain (0-7)
9. Canada (6-2) 21. Switzerland (2-6)
10.Peru (4-4) 22. Iraq (0-7)
11.Belgium (5-3) 23. Ireland (0-6)
12.Philippines (4-4)

The Phillips 66ers, winners of the 1948 national AAU title, met the 1948 NCAA champs, University of Kentucky, in the final game of the Olympic Trials. The 66ers edged Kentucky,
53-49, and Bud Browning of the 66ers was named head coach, and University of Kentucky legend Adolph Rupp was selected as his assistant.

During a pre-Olympic tour in Scotland, Browning and Rupp, each believing his own members of the team played best as a unit, concocted a strategy of unit substitution — one unit of five 66ers and one unit of five Kentucky Wildcats.

Relying on the two coaches’ unit plan, Switzerland was beaten 86-21 as Alex Groza led all scorers with 19 points, and several days later, nine Americans scored in a 53-28 win over Czechoslovakia. Still utilizing the unit plan as much as possible against Argentina, the starting 66ers five forged a 14-9 lead. When the second group of Kentucky players were substituted, Argentina rallied and by half led 33-26. The original starting crew returned at the start the second half, but eventually it had to be revised because of foul trouble. With three minutes remaining and the score even, 55-55, Kenneth Rollins sank a free throw, Jack Robinson added a field goal and Gordon Carpenter added one free throw to clinch the USA’s 59-57 victory. Rollins and Carpenter led the U.S. with 12 points each.

Egypt proved no match for the U.S. in a lopsided 66-28 U.S. win, and with Wallace Jones leading the way with 12 points, the U.S. crushed Peru 61-33. Kurland scored 19 points as the Americans handed South American champion Uruguay a 63-28 setback, and the U.S. moved within a victory of the Olympic gold after discarding of Mexico, 71-40, as Groza scored 19 points.

Facing France in the finals, Browning started his five 66ers. Only leading 9-4, the unit system was abandoned and Browning began substituting one player at a time. At half the U.S. was in command 28-9, and the Americans went on to record an easy 65-21 victory over France. The USA’s scoring was led in the gold medal game by Groza and Raymond Lumpp who tallied 11 points each.

1948 USA Men’s Olympic Games Roster

Clifford Barker F 6-2 185 27 University of Kentucky Satsuma, FL
Don Barksdale C 6-6 200 25 Oakland Bittners (UCLA) Los Angeles, CA
Ralph Beard G 5-10 176 20 University of Kentucky Louisville, KY
Lewis Beck G 6-0 165 26 Philips 66ers (Kansas) Pendleton, OR
Vincent Boryla G 6-3 190 21 Denver Nuggets (Univ. of Denver) Englewood, CA
Gordon Carpenter C/F 6-7 220 21 Phillips 66ers (Arkansas) Lakewood, CA
Alex Groza C 6-7 220 21 University of Kentucky San Diego, CA
Wallace Jones C/F 6-4 205 22 University of Kentucky Lexington, KY
Robert Kurland C 7-0 220 23 Phillips 66ers (Oklahoma St.) Bartlesville, OK
Raymond Lumpp G 6-0 170 25 New York University East Williston, NY
R.C. Pitts F 6-5 200 29 Phillips 66ers (Arkansas) Baton Rouge, LA
Jesse Renick G 6-2 185 30 Phillips 66ers (Oklahoma St.) San Francisco, CA
Kenneth Rollins G 6-0 170 24 University of Kentucky Charleston, NC
Jack Robinson G 6-0 180 21 Baylor University Fort Worth, TX
HEAD COACH: Omar Browning, Phillips 66ers (Bartlesville, OK)
ASSISTANT COACH: Adolph Rupp, University of Kentucky
MANAGER: Louis Wilke, Phillips 66ers (Bartlesville, OK)

1948 USA Men’s Olympic Games Cumulative Statistics

Alex Groza 7 35-
8- 14
78/ 11.1
Robert Kurland 7 27-
11- 15
65/ 9.3
Don Barksdale 6 20-
14- 19
54/ 9.0
R. C. Pitts 4 13-
5- 6
31/ 7.8
Raymond Lumpp 5 14-
8- 10
36/ 7.2
Wallace Jones 6 19-
5- 9
43/ 7.2
Gordon Carpenter 5 13-
9- 12
35/ 7.0
Vincent Boryla 5 11-
6- 10
28/ 5.6
Jesse Renick 7 17-
5- 7
39/ 5.6
Lewis Beck 7 13-
7- 11
33/ 4.7
Kenneth Rollins 6 10-
4- 5
24/ 4.0
Clifford Barker 5 7-
5- 12
19/ 3.8
Ralph Beard 7 10-
6- 12
26/ 3.7
Jack Robinson 5 6-
1- 3
13/ 2.6
524/ 65.5
256/ 32.0
These are Stats and a write up of the 1948 Olympic Basktball Team.
The interest for me in this is that Adolph Rupp was assistant Coach or “co-coach” as some have called it saying that an agreement was made whereby he was more or less equal with Philips 66ers Coach Omar Browning.  I don’t know if that is true or not.  Nonetheless, Rupp was on the Coaching staff and that’s good enough for me. Also, the ’48 NCAA Champion  Kentucky Wildcats Starting 5 plus were on that Olympic Team.
I’ve met one member of that team ~ Mr. Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones.  Actually I’ve met Wah Wah a few times.  First time was at a function put together by Mel McCane for WildcatFaithful.com back in 2000.  An Adolph Rupp impersonator was brought in to give a performance of Rupp talking and coaching his team.  A bit of storytelling.  It was a great show.  Afterward, Vernon Hatton and Joe B. Hall spoke about their time with Rupp.  Hall being the Coach who both played and coached with Coach Rupp and later replaced him.  Hatton being a member of the ’58 NCAA Championship Team.
Here is an interesting quote on Adolph Rupp by Don Barksdale:
“[Rupp] turned out to be my closest friend,” Barksdale said. “We went to London and won all 12 games and got the gold medal.” But he had to brush off indignities just about every step of the way. . . Later, coach Rupp told Barksdale, “Son, I wish things weren’t like that, but there’s nothing you or I can do about it.” Barksdale agreed. He lived by a very simple philosophy. He wasn’t interested in protest; he was interested in playing basketball. He had faced prejudice before, and he knew that he would face it again.
Don Barksdale was the only African American on the ’48 Olympic Team.  He was the First Black NBA All Star and only the 3rd Black NBA Player.

I’ll leave it there.  Take from it what you will.

ESPN and CNNSIs hypocrisy in full view: Don Barksdale on the ’48 Olympics and Adolph Rupp. John Wooden, Sam Gilbert and Tark the Shark.

Don Barksdale was a pioneering athlete in the mid-20th Century.  He was a member of the Gold Medal 48 Olympic Basketball Team and the Philips Oilers Championship Team.

In 1948, he was the first African American to play with the U.S. Olympic team. He

joined the team in Basketball at the 1948 Summer Olympics. He became the first Africa-American basketball player to win a gold medal in the Summer Olympics.

Barksdale, who had been playing with the Amateur Athletic

Union‘s Oakland Bittners, was given an at-large berth from the independent

bracket, but not without heavy lobbying by Fred Maggiora, a member of the Olympic Basketball Committee and a politician in Oakland, which was adjacent to Barksdale’s hometown. About eight years later Maggiora told Barksdale that some committee members’ responses to the idea of having a black Olympian was “Hell no, that will never happen.” But Maggiora wouldn’t let the committee bypass Barksdale.[2]

“This guy fought, fought, and fought,” Barksdale said, “and I think finally the coach of Phillips 66 [Omar Browning] had said, ‘That son of a bitch is the best basketball player in the country outside of Bob Kurland, so I don’t know how we can turn him down.’ So they picked me, but Maggiora said he went through holy hell for it – closed-door meetings and begging.”

The 1948 Olympic team had five Kentucky Wildcats basketball players who had just won the very first Wildcat national championship in the 1948 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament. The rest of the Olympic team, consisting of the AAU Champions Phillips Oilers, and the Kentucky team later scrimmaged on Stoll Field in front of 14,000 spectators, the largest crowd to watch basketball in Kentucky at that time. Barksdale became the first African-American to play against Kentucky in Lexington. He could not stay at the hotel with the rest of the team, but instead stayed with a black host family.[3]

Adolph Rupp, the legendary Kentucky coach, was the assistant coach on the 1948 team under Omar Browning.[4]

“[Rupp] turned out to be my closest friend,” Barksdale said. “We went to London and won all 12 games and got the gold medal.” But he had to brush off indignities just about every step of the way. . . Later, coach Rupp told Barksdale, “Son, I wish things weren’t like that, but there’s nothing you or I can do about it.” Barksdale agreed. He lived by a very simple philosophy. He wasn’t interested in protest; he was interested in playing basketball. He had faced prejudice before, and he knew that he would face it again.

Does that sound like a racist.  Why does the American Sports Press get away with deriding Rupp as a racist when to a man his contemporaries both black and white say the exact opposite?  Look to Duke in 1966.  All White Team as well.  But somehow that fact is never mentioned in all of the talk of “walls tumbling down.”  When will these media types start to deal in fact.  Instead they lie and cheat and defame persons with innuendo, deception, lies and half truths.

There are hundreds of stories that attest to the lie that is perpetuated by ESPN and their crew of amatuers.  Yet, they refuse to back down from their slander.  All the while, they canonize a guy like John Wooden whose greatest booster openly paid his players.  Paid for their clothes, cars and abortions.  I’m not saying that Wooden doesn’t deserve his accolades.  He won and won big.  But his achievements are tainted with drug money.  Neither ESPN nor the NCAA will go near those stories.  Wooden lived in denial as Papa Sam paid for his rosters.  Either that or he was complicit in the violations.  Yet, Wooden will never be investigated.  What is the difference between Papa Sam and his relationship with Bill Walton and the Reggie Bush situation or the recent O.J. Mayo “scandal.”  There is no difference.  Except that Wooden was an untouchable.  Much like Coach K and his golden boosters giving away 6 figure salaries to receptionists and signing for homes for the parents of Duke Basketball recruits.  Chris Duhon and others spring readily to mind.

Speak to me of hypocrisy.  These supposed professionals cowardly destroy the reputation of one man after his death based on fallacies and lies.   All the while, they anoint another despite the hard truths behind his grand, yet tainted, achievements.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Adrian Wojnarowski: UCLA’s Tainted Dynasty

April 3, 2006
The Bergen County Record

INDIANAPOLIS — Everywhere Jerry Tarkanian goes at this Final Four, the blue and gold, the magical four letters, the thunderous U-C-L-A chants on the streets, bring Tark back to college basketball’s greatest dynasty, back to a name most synonymous with the championship seasons.

Only, it isn’t John Wooden.

Or Lew Alcindor.

Or Bill Walton.

“I think about Sam Gilbert,” Tark said Sunday afternoon.

And that’s the name that causes a roomful of frolicking Bruins boosters and fans to go uneasily quiet. Sam Gilbert, the two dirty little words of the dynasty.

For the record, Tark will go where others genuflecting at the altar of John Wooden will never journey. He’ll say the name that amid the hype for tonight’s UCLA-Florida national championship game, you’re guaranteed to never hear on CBS. The NCAA tournament loves its nostalgia, its mythology and you’ll be getting the full force of this farce from the RCA Dome.

“To people, John Wooden is a god,” Tark said.

It is a losing proposition to suggest that UCLA’s 10 national championships under Wooden were won with anything but the talent of great players and the lessons and leadership of a legendary coach. It just is never talked about — out in the open, anyway.

It was what it was, though: Sam Gilbert was a Los Angeles construction man who lavished the Wooden-era UCLA players with money, cars, gifts, the run of his mansion, whatever. Anything those players wanted, the dynasty’s sugar daddy was reputed to provide it.

“To this day, what blows me away — what still makes me angry — is that Sam Gilbert never tried to hide what he was doing,” Tark said. “But the NCAA was never going to investigate UCLA. They were the marquee team. They had all of the games on television. But I lived 20 minutes away in Long Beach and I knew what was going on there. The whole country, the NCAA, they all knew what Sam Gilbert was doing at UCLA.

“Hell, he bragged about it to a lot of people. He bragged about it to me. Once, he liked my point guard [Robert Smith] and said, ‘Why don’t you send him over to UCLA so I can take care of him?’ The NCAA was always harassing me, but Sam Gilbert was violating more rules than anyone in America.

“I was told that John Wooden used to always say that he wished Sam would stay away from the program. I was told that he went to [the AD] J.D. Morgan about it, and Morgan told him that he would take care of it. But it went on and on.”

These days, Tark is hardly on the UCLA warpath. Truth be told, he loves the Bruins’ coach, Ben Howland. As funny as it sounds, Tark will be sitting in Howland’s seats for the game tonight.
What’s more, Tark’s never had a personal problem with Wooden, who always was very nice and very generous with him through the years. His issue isn’t with Wooden, but a system that selectively punished cheaters.

This isn’t to absolve Tark by means of some great conspiracy to get him. He is a well-deserved and well-decorated NCAA probation loser at Long Beach, UNLV and Fresno State. I covered him for 2½ years in Fresno, had my drag-outs with him, but the years have taught me that some of the most respected names in the sport — some of the so-called giants — are the biggest crooks going. Tark always told me, and only in the last few years have I come to agree with him.

Ultimately, Tark thinks that if you want to believe that his four Final Fours and his 1990 national championship are tainted, then you have to take a look at UCLA, too. I always believed that his fight with the NCAA wasn’t so much about his own innocence, but the fact that there were competitors of his who had been deemed untouchable and never got popped too.

If you think this is just Tark barking at the moon, trying to justify his own misdeeds, consider a different source, someone whose agenda is beyond reproach. While working with Tark on his memoir “Running Rebel,” author Dan Wetzel dug up a Bill Walton quote from a 1978 book, “On the Road with the Portland Trail Blazers.”

If you ever want to debate that there is a double standard between the chosen programs and those branded as renegade by the NCAA, consider this stunning passage.

“UCLA players were so well taken care of — far beyond the ground rules of the NCAA — that even players from poor backgrounds never left UCLA prematurely (for pro basketball) during John Wooden’s championship years,” Walton said. “If the UCLA teams of the late 1960s and early 1970s were subjected to the kind of scrutiny Jerry Tarkanian and his players have been, UCLA would probably have to forfeit about eight national championships and be on probation for the next 100 years.

“… The NCAA is working night and day trying to get Jerry, but no one from the NCAA ever questioned me during my four years at UCLA.”

Here’s the thing, too: This doesn’t make Wooden less of a philosopher, less of a teacher, less of a great American icon. To me, it doesn’t change the fact that the afternoon I spent in his condo two years ago rates as one of the best days I’ve ever had in this business. It’s just a reminder there is no Camelot in sports. And there are no saints.

Wooden is 95 years old, bigger and more beloved than ever, and as Tark said one Hall of Fame coach told him this weekend, “People won’t really start talking about [Wooden’s] legacy until he’s gone.”

Wooden is still the kind of man, just like those Bruins were the kind of champions, who never will be duplicated. The banners are still hanging in Pauley Pavilion, the 100 years of probation that Walton swears would’ve been warranted never did come. Admire the UCLA history tonight, but don’t let yourself get lost in the mythology. There was no Camelot in college basketball, no saint.

E-mail: wojnarowski@northjersey.com