USA MEN'S WORLD INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT TEAM -- 1978
Atlanta, Georgia; Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Lexington, Kentucky • April 5-9, 1978
Days after leading his University of Kentucky squad to the 1978 NCAA Championship, hall of fame mentor Joe B. Hall undertook the challenge of directing a USA National Team comprised of top collegians in the 1978 World Invitational Tournament. A made-for-television event, joining the USA team of collegians in the April 5-9 round-robin tournament were international powers Cuba, Soviet Union and Yugoslavia.
Hall's USA roster included five members of Kentucky's national championship team, and overall the U.S. averaged just 20.3 years of age. The 14 players featured 12 future NBA first round picks, 10 players who would be selected among the first six picks in future NBA drafts, including No. 1 picks Joe Barry Carroll (1980) and Earvin "Magic" Johnson (1979).
1978 WORLD INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT RESULTS
1978 WORLD INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT
Although young, seven of the USA players boasted of valuable international experience. Phil Ford was a 1976 Olympic gold medalist, while Rick Robey won gold as a member of the 1975 Pan American Games when he was just 19. James Bailey, Larry Bird, Darrell Griffith and Sidney Moncrief were teammates on the 1977 USA World University Games that finished 8-0 to claim gold, and Earvin Johnson was the leading scorer for a USA team that captured the title at the 1977 Albert Schweitzer Tournament.
Opening the tournament at the Omni in Atlanta on April 6 and facing Cuba, the U.S., behind its athleticism and depth, overpowered Cuba 109-78. Jumping out to a 16-3 lead the USA was fully in control by halftime, leading 56-21. Eleven of the USA's 12 active players scored, led by Jack Givens' 17 points. Moncrief scored 15 points in the lopsided win, David Greenwood, Griffith, Kyle Macy and Robey added 12 each, while Bird and Magic contributed four points.
In Day 1's opening game, Drazen Dalipagic, Dragan Kicanovic and Kresimir Cosic combined for 74 points to give Yugoslavia a 97-79 victory over Russia.
Playing day two of the competition in Carmichael Auditorium in Chapel Hill, N.C. on April 6, six-foot-nine Rutgers center Bailey scored 14 points to lead the USA to a hard-fought 88-83 victory over Yugoslavia. The U.S. fell behind early in the game but following a jumper by Macy jumped ahead 37-35 with four minutes left in the first half. The second half was a see-saw battle most of the way until Macy hit a jump shot with two minutes to go to make it 84-79 and the USA went on to earn the 88-83 win. Ford, playing on his UNC home court, had 13 points, Macy finished with 12 and Givens added 10 points. Kicanovic led Yugoslavia with 22 points, and Mirza Delibasic had 18.
In the day's other game, the Soviet Union improved to 1-1 with an overwhelming 108-78 victory over Cuba (0-2).
Finishing the tournament on April 9 in front of a reported 12,014 fans in Rupp Arena, the younger USA squad dominated the Soviet Union 107-82 to finish a perfect 3-0 and take the inaugural World Basketball Tournament trophy. The USA led 13-11, then posted a 12-0 run to push its advantage to 25-11. Givens, who starred at the University of Kentucky and had scored 41 points in the Wildcat's title game victory over Duke, scored six points in a USA 16‐2 run that closed out the first half and saw the Americans cushion their lead to 71-42 at halftime. Givens led the red, white and blue offensive charge with 15 points, Griffith added 14 points and Moncrief scored 13 as the USA received balanced scoring. Bailey and Johnson recorded 11 points each, while Greenwood, Lee and Robey each contributed 10 points. Sergei Belov poured in 32‐points to pace the Soviets.
The USA ended the round-robin tournament with a 3-0 record, Yugoslavia, which knocked off Cuba 98-80 in the final day's first game, claimed second place with a 2-1 mark, the Soviet Union placed third at 1-2 and Cuba finished 0-4 to finish fourth..
Givens and Moncrief, along with Yugoslavia stars Kicanovic and Dalipagic, and the Soviet Union's Belov, were named to the All-Tournament Team. Kicanovic, who averaged 21.0 ppg., was selected the Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
1978 USA WORLD INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT TEAM ROSTER
|Joe Barry Carroll||C||7-0||255||19||Purdue|
|Phil Ford||G||6-2||175||22||North Carolina|
|Earvin Johnson||G||6-9||220||18||Michigan State|
|Mike O'Koren||F||6-7||207||20||North Carolina|
|HEAD COACH: Joe Hall, University 0f Kentucky|
1978 USA WORLD INVITATIONAL TOURNAMENT TEAM CUMULATIVE STATISTICS
|Givens||3/||19-30||.633||4- 5||.800||14/ 4.7||42/ 14.0||1||0||2|
|Moncrief||3/||13- 24||.542||10- 11||.909||19/ 6.3||36/ 12.0||7||2||4|
|Bailey||3/||12- 26||.462||12- 17||.706||7/ 2.3||36/ 12.0||6||1||3|
|Griffith||3/||13- 25||.520||7- 9||.778||6/ 2.0||33/ 11.0||4||0||0|
|Greenwood||3/||12- 26||.462||6- 12||.500||12/ 4.0||30/ 10.0||7||1||6|
|Macy||3/||14- 20||.700||1- 1||1.000||1/ 0.3||29/ 9.7||9||0||2|
|Robey||3/||8- 20||.400||8- 9||.889||19/ 6.3||24/ 8.0||5||2||1|
|Lee||3/||8- 16||.500||4- 7||.571||12/ 4.0||20/ 6.7||3||2||1|
|Johnson||3/||4- 12||.333||7- 7||1.000||5/ 1.7||15/ 5.0||7||0||5|
|Bird||3/||7- 15||.467||0- 0||.---||18/ 6.0||14/ 4.7||6||0||7|
|Ford||1/||6- 9||.667||1- 1||1.000||0/ 0.0||13/ 13.0||3||0||3|
|Carroll||3/||2- 8||.250||4- 6||.667||4/ 1.3||8/ 2.7||1||3||2|
|O'Koren||2/||2- 4||.500||0- 0||.---||1/ 0.5||4/ 2.0||0||0||0|
|Shidler||3/||0- 2||.000||0- 0||.---||2/ 0.7||0/ 0.0||0||0||0|
|OPP.||3||81-177||.458||67- 93||.720||78/26.0||227/ 76.3||37||13||18|