1954 USA Men's World Championship Team


  • Date:
    Jun 10, 2010

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil • October 22 - November 5, 1954

Because of the timing of the second World Championship, the United States was represented by the Peoria Caterpillars. The Caterpillars were a talented and experienced group which had not only won the 1954 AAU national title, but had also claimed top AAU honors in 1953 and 1952.

1954 USA RESULTS (9-0)
USA 59 Canada 37
USA 73 Peru 51
USA 56 Philippines 43
USA 70 France 49
USA 64 Uruguay 59
USA 84 Canada 50
USA 72 Formosa 28
USA 74 Israel 30
USA 62 Brazil 41
1. USA (7-0) 7. Canada (2-5)*
2. Brazil (6-1) 8. Israel (1-6)
3. Philippines (5-2) 9. Paraguay (3-0)
4. France (3-4) 10. Chile (2-1)
5. Formosa (2-5)* 11. Yugoslavia (1-2)
6. Uruguay (2-5)* 12. Peru (0-3)
*Final standings determined by point differential between tied teams.

NOTE: Team records reflect results from Final Round or Classification Round games only.

After earning a silver four years earlier at the inaugural 1950 World Championship in Argentina, the U.S. cruised through the 1954 competition with a perfect 9-0 slate to earn its first World title. The USA won by an average of more than 25 points a game.

Opening against its neighbor to the North, the U.S. rolled over Canada 59-37 as Kirby Minter scored 16. Down 26-24 at halftime, the U.S. rolled in the second half to record a lopsided 73-49 win over Peru as Bill Johnson and Minter accounted for 22 and 19 points, respectively.

Opening play in the final round, the U.S. was given a run for its money by the Philippines. Trailing by just three points at the half, 25-22, the Philippines squad rallied at the start of the second half and took a 31-26 lead. However, the USA offense got rolling and with three minutes remaining the U.S. had control 49-30 before finally settling for a 56-43 victory. Minter led the USA offense with 15 points.

The U.S. next discarded of France 70-49 as Minter and Dick Retherfield each scored 15 points, then, with Bertram Born scoring 15 points, registered win number five with a 64-59 victory over Uruguay. The fast- breaking Uruguay trailed the American team 30-26 at halftime. With nine minutes remaining, Uruguay only trailed the USA team by two, 49-47, but the U.S. closed strongly to take the 64-59 decision. Bertram Born was high scorer for the U.S. team with 15 points, while Retherford added 14. A physical contest from start to finish, 60 fouls were whistled, 31 of which were against the U.S.

Behind Born's 17 points, the U.S., for the second time of the competition, easily defeated Canada 84-50, then the U.S. recorded a lopsided 72-28 victory over Formosa. All 11 healthy U.S. players scored in the win with Born leading the way with 14 points.

Again every available U.S. player scored and the U.S., behind 13 points from Johnson and 10 from Don Penwell, had no trouble in rolling over Israel 74-30.

The USA's sixth consecutive win, coupled with Brazil's sixth straight win, set the stage for the championship game between the two unbeaten squads. With a crowd numbering 35,000 in attendance, the U.S. put this game away early.

Taking control midway through the first half, the U.S. led 35-19 at half and went on to lead by as many as 27 points in the second half before settling for the 62-41 victory. Ed Solomon paced the USA attack with 14 points, Born added 12 and Joe Stratton was credited with 11 points.


Bertram Born C 6-9 200   Peoria Caterpillars (Kansas) Medicine Lodge, KS
Richard Gott F 6-6 185   Peoria Caterpillars (Murray State) Kansas City, MO
Forrest Hamilton F 6-5 180   Peoria Caterpillars (SW Mo. St.) Crocker, MO
Bill Johnson F 6-8 225 21 Peoria Caterpillars (Nebraska) Peoria, IL
Allen Kelley G 5-11 161   Peoria Caterpillars (Kansas) McCune, KS
Kirby Minter F 6-6 200 24 Peoria Caterpillars (SE Okla. St.) Durant, OK
Don Penwell C 6-9 190   Peoria Caterpillars (Okla. City U.) Oklahoma City, OK
Dick Retherford F 6-7 210 23 Peoria Caterpillars (Bald.-Wallace) Westerville, OH
Kendall Sheets G 6-2 190   Peoria Caterpillars (Okla. A&M) El Reno, OK
Ed Solomon F 6-5 200 23 Peoria Caterpillars (W. Va. Tech) Osage, WV
Joe Stratton G 5-10 160 22 Peoria Caterpillars (Colgate) Ridgewood, NJ
HEAD COACH: Warren Womble, Peoria Caterpillars (IL)
ATHLETIC TRAINER: Pat Doyle, Peoria Caterpillars (IL)


Kirby Minter 9 16- 7-
100/ 11.1
Bertram Born 9 22- 12-
94/ 10.4
Dick Retherford 9 17- 6-
73/ 8.1
Bill Johnson 9 8- 12-
69/ 7.7
Ed Solomon 9 13- 8-
63/ 7.0
Joe Stratton 9 14- 8-
55/ 6.1
Don Penwell 8 9- 16-
52/ 6.5
Kendall Sheets 8 10- 3-
42/ 4.7
Allen Kelley 9 8- 5-
35/ 3.9
Forrest Hamilton 7 7- 1-
24/ 3.4
Richard Gott 6 1- 0-
7/ 1.2
USA TOTALS 9 229- 156-
614/ 68.2
OPP. TOTALS 9 119- 150-
388/ 43.1

NOTE: Individual statistical totals for field goals made and free throws made reflect cumulatives of only five games. Box scores for USA versus Peru, France, and both games against Canada are unavailable.

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