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1956 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team

Games of the XVIth Olympiad -- 1956

  • Date:
    Jun 10, 2010

Melbourne, Australia - November 22 - December 1, 1956


Because the seasons are reversed in Australia, the 1956 summer Olympics were held during the USA's winter time. The Australian government poured a then unthinkable sum of $13,440,000 into the Olympics, at that time the highest amount ever spent for the Games.

1956 USA RESULTS (8-0)
USA 98 Japan 40
USA 101 Thailand 29
USA 121 Philippines 53
USA 85 Bulgaria 44
USA 113 Brazil 51
USA 85 USSR 55
USA 101 Uruguay 38
USA 89 USSR 55

1956 OLYMPIC GAMES FINAL STANDINGS

1. USA (8-0) 9. Canada (5-2)
2. Soviet Union (8-1) 10.Japan (3-4)
3. Uruguay (6-2) 11.Formosa (5-3)
4. France (5-3) 12. Australia (2-5)
5. Bulgaria (5-3) 13.Singapore (2-5)
6. Brazil (3-4) 14.South Korea (1-6)
7. Philippines (4-4) 15. Thailand (0-7)
8. Chile (2-5)

Behind the play of 6'10' Bill Russell and 6'1' K. C. Jones, two key players on the University of San Francisco's 1956 NCAA national championship team, the USA proved that it was still far ahead of the rest of the world in the American-originated sport. The United States averaged nearly 100 points a game, actually surpassing the century mark in four of eight games, and the USA's average margin of victory was an impressive 53.5 points a game.

Arriving in Melbourne November 15, the USA opened the Olympic competition with a dominating 98-40 win over Japan as Russell poured in 20 points. All 12 U.S. men scored as Thailand was overwhelmed by the U.S. squad 101-29, and the Philippines were crushed 121-53 as all 12 players again scored, including seven in double digits, led by Robert Jeangerard's 21 points. Bulgaria fell 85-44 as Jeangerard scored 19, and the U.S. upped its record to 5-0 with a 113-51 whipping of Brazil as nine U.S. players scored nine or more points.

The Soviet men were bettered by the Americans by 30 points, 85-55, with Russell dropping 20 points in the victory. Moving into the finals, Uruguay was man-handled 101-38 as Ron Tomsic scored 18 points. Closing the 1956 Olympic competition against the Soviet Union, the Americans won even easier than they had in the first meeting. Taking control early, the U.S. led comfortably at half, 56-27, and went on to record an 89-55 win. Jeangerard led the U.S. with 16 points, while Jones, James Walsh and Russell finished with 15, 14, and 13 points, respectively.

Returning to the United States, the '56 Olympic team entered and won a college tournament in mid-December that also featured teams from San Francisco, Loyola and Santa Clara.

Russell, who had delayed his pro-debut so he could compete in the Olympics, reported late to the Celtics. But Russell still managed to play in 48 of Boston's 72 games in 1956-57, and led the Celtics in field goal percentage and rebounding as Boston captured their first of many NBA titles while Russell occupied the post.

1956 U.S. MEN'S OLYMPIC TEAM ROSTER

NAME POS HGT WGT AGE SCHOOL HOMETOWN
Dick Boushka F 6-5 195 22 Wichita Vickers (St. Louis Univ.) Albuquerque, NM
Carl Cain F 6-3 190 22 University of Iowa Freeport, IL
Charles Darling C 6-8 225 26 Phillips 66ers (Colorado) Bartlesville, OK
William Evans G 6-1 185 24 U.S. Armed Forces (Kentucky) Houston, TX
Gilbert Ford G 6-4 200 25 U.S. Armed Forces (Texas) Amarillo, TX
Burdette Haldorson F 6-7 207 22 Phillips 66ers (Colorado) Austin, TX
William Hougland F 6-5 190 26 Phillips 66ers (Kansas) Bartlesville, OK
Robert Jeangerard F 6-3 190 23 Phillips 66ers (Colorado) Wilmette, IL
K.C. Jones G 6-1 201 24 University of San Francisco San Francisco, CA
Bill Russell C 6-10 220 22 University of San Francisco Oakland, CA
Ron Tomsic G 5-11 185 23 U.S. Armed Forces (Stanford) Oakland, CA
James Walsh G 6-4 190 26 Phillips 66ers (Stanford) San Francisco, CA
HEAD COACH: Gerald Tucker, Phillips 66ers (Bartlesville, OK)
ASSISTANT COACH: Bruce Drake, United States Armed Forces
MANAGER: James Coogan, Connecticut AAU
ASSISTANT MANAGER: Major Roy Johnson, U.S. Air Force Academy(CO)
ATHLETIC TRAINER: Wally Bock

1956 U.S. MEN'S OLYMPIC TEAM CUMULATIVE STATISTICS

NAME G
FGM-FGA
Pct
FTM-FTA
Pct
PF
Pts/Avg
Russell 8
46-96
.479
21-27
.778
5
113/14.1
Jeangerard 8
45-74
.608
10-11
.909
9
100/12.5
Tomsic 8
34-92
.370
21-25
.840
12
89/11.1
Jones 8
32-75
.427
23-27
.852
11
87/10.9
Walsh 9
27-61
.443
19-21
.905
17
73/9.1
Halodorson 8
28-58
.483
13-15
.867
14
69/8.6
Boushka 8
27-68
.397
10-10
1.000
12
64/8.0
Darling 8
22-44
.500
12-15
.800
7
56/9.3
Evans 8
21-55
.382
12-18
.667
11
54/6.8
Houghland 8
20-51
.392
6-6
1.000
5
46/5.8
Ford 8
17-44
.386
5-7
.714
14
39/4.9
Cain 2
1-5
.200
1-2
.500
2
3/1.5
USA TOTALS 8
320-723
.443
153-184
.832
119
793/99.1
OPP. TOTALS 8
137-415
.330
91-130
.700
163
365/45.6

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