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.

Adolph Rupp — Individual Offense Part II

Thanks to Vic and Rick, I can tell you with some certainty that the team featured on this film are the guys from the 56-58 Seasons. Obviously, that would include the ’58 Championship team. The players that are probably featured in the practices and game excerpts are probably among the following:

Team Roster

#24 Johnny Cox
#10 Gerry Calvert
#52 Vernon Hatton
#32 John Crigler
#34 Ed Beck
#50 Adrian Smith
#55 Ray Mills
#70 John Brewer
#12 Billy Ray Cassady
#40 Earl Adkins
#20 Dick Howe
#10 Lincoln Collinsworth
#88 Bill Smith
#33 Harold Ross
#66 John Hardwick
#50 Jay Bayless
#14 Phil Johnson

1955-56.jpg 1956-57.jpg 1957-58.jpg

Back in the good old days of WildcatFaithful.com, I had the pleasure of meeting Vernon Hatton once at an 2001 Lexington event arranged by the late gentleman Mel McCane. Mr. Hatton is a boisterous gentleman who loves to tell stories about his years with Coach Rupp. We, at the event, were reveled with stories of practices and Coach Rupp’s infamously acerbic wit which he leveled liberally at his athletes. Joe B. Hall as well as the incomparable Wallace “Wah Wah” Jones also attended that event and spoke to the attendees. It must have been special to have been a part of those teams and to be witness to and part of the history of Big Blue Basketball and the Rupp Era. I certainly felt privileged to be able to live vicariously for a brief moment through the voices of men who played, strained and excelled under the leadership and guidance of Adolph Rupp.

1958.jpg adrian-smith.jpg johnny_cox1.jpg

johnny_cox4.jpg vernon-hatton.jpg adolph-rupp.jpg

The history of the Big Blue is incredible.

Enjoy the part II.

As always, you are welcome to poke around and view the rest of the blog.

Thanks, Dave