Games of the XIXth Olympiad -- 1968
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)
1968 OLYMPIC GAMES FINAL STANDINGS
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
|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
|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|