FIRST PAN AMERICAN GAMES 1951
Buenos Aires, Argentina
February 25 - March 8, 1951
As an international power, the United States was the favorite to win the gold medal at the first Pan American Games, held in 1951 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Behind the expertise of co-coaches Hal Fischer of the AAU Blue 'n Gold (Oakland, CA) and John Longfellow of Indiana State, the USA proved everyone right as it rolled to a 6-0 record and the inaugural Pan American gold medal.
1951 USA RESULTS (6-0)
1951 PAN AMERICAN GAMES FINAL STANDINGS
Selection of the U.S. team may have been the USA's biggest hurdle. With competition slated for February - March, many college student-athletes could not participate because of classes. Because the Games' dates were announced too late for tryouts, the Olympic Basketball Committee decided to select two coach-managers and a team of 14 with seven from the NCAA and seven from the AAU. The committee's first choice to represent the NCAA was the 1950 NCAA tournament champion (NYCC), with the runner-up a second choice. Third choice was the winner of the 1950 NIT Tournament (NYCC) and the winner of the NAIB Tournament was the fourth alternative. After NYCC and Bradley turned down the offer to participate, NAIB champ, Indiana State, accepted. The Phillips Oilers, winners of the national AAU tournament in Denver in 1950, also declined, so the AAU's runner-up team, Blue 'n Gold, agreed to go along with their coach Hal Fischer.
The U.S. team relied on strong rebounding and a fast-break offense to power its offense, and played aggressive man-to-man defense. After defeating its first five opponents rather easily, the average margin of victory in the first five games was over 25 points, the United States faced host Argentina in the final.
Played at 1 a.m., over 25,000 fans packed Luna Park Arena and it was reported thousands more waited outside. The gold medal game appeared to be a run-away as the USA team jetted out to a 26-8 lead. But foul trouble began to slow the Americans and by half the U.S. lead had dwindled to 29-23. Four of the USA's top players fouled out early in the second half (Barksdale, Faszholz, Powell and Leslie) and with just four minutes left, the U.S. held a narrow 50-48 lead. Turning to the stall, the USA team persevered and escaped with a 57-51 win to capture the first men's basketball gold medal of the Pan American Games.
The United States' inaugural Pan American Games team was led by the scoring of Blue 'n Gold team members Donald Barksdale and Charles O'Neill. Barksdale poured in 22.5 ppg., while O'Neill added 10.7 ppg. To this day, Barksdale remains the only USA player to average more than 20 points per game in the Pan American Games.
|NAME||POS||HGT||WGT||AGE||AFFILIATION / SCHOOL||HOMETOWN|
|Roger Adkins||G||6-0||168||20||Indiana State||Martinsville, IN|
|Richard Atha||G||6-2||185||19||Indiana State||Otterbein, IN|
|Richard Babcock||G||6-2||169||28||Indiana State||Evansville, IN|
|Donald Barksdale||C||6-6||201||26||Oakland Blue 'n Gold (UCLA)||Oakland, CA|
|Richard Faszholz||G||6-5||210||27||Oakland Blue 'n Gold||Berkeley, CA|
|Robert Gilbert||F||6-5||192||21||Indiana State||Terre Haute, IN|
|Thomas Kern||G||5-8||150||20||Indiana State||Elkhart, IN|
|Eugene Lambdin||G||5-11||169||19||Indiana State||Elkhart, IN|
|Kenneth Leslie||F||6-2||170||25||Oakland Blue 'n Gold (San Diego)||San Francisco, CA|
|Edward Longfellow||G||5-10||151||23||Indiana State||Elkhart, IN|
|Clifford Murray||G||6-2||167||19||Indiana State||Elkhart, IN|
|Charles O'Neill||G||6-3||180||19||Oakland Blue 'n Gold (Ark. Tech)||San Francisco, CA|
|James Powell||F||6-5||190||19||Oakland Blue 'n Gold||San Francisco, CA|
|Neil Turner||F||6-4||180||20||Oakland Blue 'n Gold (W. Ken.)||San Francisco, CA|
|CO-HEAD COACH: Hal Fischer, Oakland Blue 'n Gold (CA)|
|CO-HEAD COACH: John Longfellow, Indiana State University|
|CAPTAIN: Donald Barksdale|
1951 USA Men's Pan American Games Cumulative Statistics