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1968 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team

Games of the XIXth Olympiad -- 1968

  • Date:
    Jun 10, 2010

Mexico City, Mexico • October 13-25 , 1968


The United States entered the 1968 Olympics in the unfamiliar role of underdogs to the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. This was because of the team's poor showing in a summer European tour that saw the U.S., playing without coach Henry Iba, Jo Jo White and Bill Hosket, win only one of three games each against both the USSR and Yugoslavia, and because many believed that the best of the American college players had skipped the Olympics for various reasons.


1968 USA RESULTS (9-0)
USA 81 Spain 46
USA 93 Senegal 36
USA 96 Philippines 75
USA 73 Yugoslavia 58
USA 95 Panama 60
USA 100 Italy 61
USA 61 Puerto Rico 56
USA 75 Brazil 63
USA 65 Yugoslavia 50

1968 OLYMPIC GAMES FINAL STANDINGS

1. USA (9-0) 9. Puerto Rico (5-4)
2. Yugoslavia (7-2) 10. Bulgaria (4-5)
3. Soviet Union (8-1) 11. Cuba (3-6)
4. Brazil (6-3) 12. Panama (2-7)
5. Mexico (7-2) 13. Philippines (3-6)
6. Poland (5-4) 14. South Korea (2-7)
7. Spain (5-4) 15. Senegal (1-8)
8. Italy (5-4) 16. Morocco (0-9)

However, the U.S. disproved its skeptics. Relying on the expertise of head mentor Henry Iba who had led the 1964 USA team to the Olympic gold medal, the American squad compiled a perfect 9-0 record, and in the process captured the USA's seventh consecutive Olympic basketball gold medal.

The U.S., with five players scoring in double figures, opened pool play with an easy 81-46 victory over Spain. Senegal was crushed 93-36 as Spencer Haywood scored 16 points, and 6'8' Hosket had 16 points in the USA's 96-75 win over the Philippines. Yugoslavia proved no match for the Americans, falling 73-58 as White poured in 24 points. With Haywood tallying 27 points, the U.S. easily disposed of Panama 95-60, and Italy was handed a 100-61 loss as Haywood scored 26.

A feisty Puerto Rican team gave the USA men a scare, but behind Haywood's 21 and 12 additional points from Mike Silliman, the U.S. earned a 61-56 win. Facing Brazil in the semifinals, the U.S. jumped out to a 20-8 lead, and enjoyed a 42-26 halftime advantage before settling for a 75-63 win.

Standing 8-0, the anticipated USA-Soviet Union final did not materialize because Yugoslavia stunned the Soviets in the semifinals 63-62. In the finals, the U.S. faced a hot Yugoslavian team that stood 7-1 with their only loss coming to the U.S. Throughout the first half Yugoslavia played the U.S. tight and at the intermission the Yugoslavs trailed by a mere three points, 32-29. But at the start of the second half the Americans, behind eight points each from Haywood and White, reeled off 17 unanswered points to take command 49-29. The U.S. went on to earn the Olympic gold with a convincing 65-50 victory. Haywood finished with 21 points, while White added 14 in the win.

The Olympics served as a coming-out for the 19-year-old Haywood, the youngest player to ever make a USA Olympic basketball team at that time. Haywood, a 6'8' junior college star who went on to later fame at the University of Detroit and an eight-year NBA career, led the U.S. squad with 145 points and a 16.1 points-per-game average. He also shot a sizzling 71.9 percent from the field to set a U.S. Olympic shooting percentage record. University of Kansas all-American White, a senior, ran coach Henry Iba's fast break offense to perfection, averaging 11.7 points a game.

 

1968 U.S. MEN'S OLYMPIC TEAM ROSTER

NAME POS HGT WGT AGE AFFILIATION (SCHOOL) HOMETOWN
Michael Barrett G 6-2 155 25 U.S. Armed Forces (West Virginia Tech) Norfolk, VA
John Clawson G 6-4 200 24 U.S. Armed Forces (Michigan) Naperville, IL
Donald Dee F 6-7 205 25 St. Mary of the Plains College Kansas City , MO
Calvin Fowler G 6-1 170 28 Goodyear Wingfoots (St. Francis) Akron, OH
Spencer Haywood C 6-8 225 19 Trinidad State Junior College Detroit, MI
Bill Hosket F 6-8 220 21 Ohio State University Dayton, OH
James King F 6-7 200 25 Goodyear Wingfoots (Oklahoma State) Akron, OH
Glynn Saulters G 6-2 175 23 Northeast Louisiana Univresity Lisbon, LA
Charles Scott F 6-5 180 19 University of North Carolina New York, NY
Michael Silliman F 6-6 225 24 U.S. Armed Forces (Military Academy) Louisville, KY
Ken Spain C 6-9 240 22 University of Houston Houston, TX
Joseph (Jo Jo) White G 6-3 195 21 University of Kansas St. Louis, MO
HEAD COACH: Henry Iba, Oklahoma State University
ASSISTANT COACH: Henry Vaughn, Goodyear Wingfoots
MANAGER: Ben Carnevale, New York University
ASSISTANT MANAGER: G. Russel Lyons, Boulder, Colorado
ATHLETIC TRAINER: Whitey Gwynne, West Virginia University

1968 U.S. MEN'S OLYMPIC TEAM CUMULATIVE STATISTICS

NAME G FGM-FGA PCT FTM-FTA PCT PF PTS/AVG
Haywood 9 64- 89 .719 17- 38 .447 15 145/ 16.1
White 9 46- 98 .469 13- 16 .813 16 105/ 11.7
Silliman 9 35- 78 .449 11- 12 .917 18 81/ 9.0
Scott 9 25- 49 .510 22- 32 .688 20 72/ 8.0
Hosket 8 31- 49 .633 7- 16 .438 23 69/ 8.6
Fowler 9 26- 44 .591 6- 10 .600 24 58/ 6.4
Barrett 9 26- 56 .464 4- 8 .500 17 56/ 6.2
Saulters 8 16- 30 .533 10- 10 1.000 9 42/ 5.3
Dee 7 13- 33 .394 7- 12 .583 13 33/ 4.7
Spain 8 15- 17 .882 5- 14 .357 11 35/ 4.4
Clawson 8 13- 25 .520 3- 4 .750 9 29/ 3.6
King 8 5- 10 .500 4- 6 .667 20 14/ 1.8
USA
9 315-578 .545 109-178 .612 195 739/ 82.1
OPP.
9 200-513 .390 105-158 .665 240 505/ 56.1

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