SECOND PAN AMERICAN GAMES -- 1955
Mexico City, Mexico • March 12-26, 1955
After capturing the gold medal in the inaugural Pan American Games, the United States entered the 1955 Games at Mexico City, Mexico, eager to repeat. Although the USA suffered its first defeat in Pan American competition, the team regrouped and won its final three games to capture the 1955 gold medal.
1955 USA RESULTS (4-1)
1955 PAN AMERICAN GAMES FINAL STANDINGS
As was the case in 1951, selection of the 1955 USA Pan American Games basketball team was again no easy task. Originally, the U.S. Olympic Committee announced that the 1955 Pan American Games team would consist of five AAU players, four college players and five players from the Armed Forces.
But because of the game's March competition dates, college student-athletes could not compete. Instead, the U.S. Olympic Committee decided that the 1955 team would consist of seven players from the AAU and seven players from the U.S. Armed Forces. The 1954 AAU champion Peoria Caterpillars were unavailable because they were representing the USA at the 1955 World Championship, so the 1954 AAU runner-up Grihalva Buicks of San Diego, California, were chosen. A camp featuring 20 of the Armed Forces' top players was held at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (OH) to determine the Armed Forces' seven players.
A series of games between the Grihalva Buicks and the Armed Forces took place in San Diego to determine who would serve as head coach. Lt. Norman Pilgrim was selected as the head coach after his armed forces team claimed two wins over the AAU team, and AAU coach Fon Johnson was named the assistant.
Opening the round-robin competition facing Brazil, the U.S. led 30-27 at half and broke the game wide open in the second half and went on to claim a 78-49 win as Melvin Kelley and Donald Byrd paced the U.S. with 14 and 13 points each. Facing Argentina next, the USA squad fell behind early and at half trailed 29-23. Argentina expanded its lead to as many as 12 midway in the third quarter, but the U.S. rallied and took a one-point lead with about a minute to play. However, three consecutive turnovers doomed the U.S. to its first loss, 54-53. Byrd led the U.S. with 19 points, while Robert Williams added 14.
The U.S. regrouped to claim convincing wins in its final three games. Behind Robert Kenney's 17 points and 15 points from John Hoverder, the U.S. easily disposed of host Mexico 85-55. Cuba proved no problem either as the Americans won 84-56 as Williams poured in 24 points to lead the way. The USA's final game was another lopsided victory as the U.S. captured a 72-29 win over Venezuela as Williams scored 16 points and 12 of the USA's 14 players scored.
Thanks to Brazil's 61-57 win over Argentina, the United States, Brazil and Argentina all finished with identical records of 4-1 and in a three-way tie for first. The final medal standings were determined on the point spread between the three teams in their games against each other. Relying on this system, the United States was declared the winner of the gold medal with a plus 28, while Argentina, with a minus three, earned the silver and Brazil, minus 25, was awarded the bronze.
1955 USA PAN AMERICAN MEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM ROSTER
|NAME||POS||HGT||WGT||AGE||AFFILIATION / SCHOOL||HOMETOWN|
|Donald Byrd||G||6-3||170||U.S. Armed Forces (Central H.S.)||Cleveland, OH|
|Ron Faulkner||C/F||6-5||215||Grihalva Buicks (Pepperdine)||Anaheim, CA|
|James Hoverder||F||6-6||185||24||Grihalva Buicks (Cent. Mo. St.)||Kansas City, MO|
|Melvin Kelley||G||6-0||170||21||U.S. Armed Forces (Kansas)||McClune, KS|
|Robert Kenney||G||6-2||185||20||U.S. Armed Forces (Kansas)||Winfield, KS|
|Robert LeBuhn||F||6-4||205||Grihalva Buicks (Northwestern)||Davenport, IA|
|Kenneth Leslie||F||6-2||29||Grihalva Buicks (San Diego)||San Francisco, CA|
|Locke Olson||F||6-6||185||29||Grihalva Buicks (Pomona College)||Upland, CA|
|James Paxson||F||6-6||198||22||U.S. Armed Forces (Dayton)||Springfield, OH|
|James Poole||G||6-0||175||22||Grihalva Buicks (San Diego St.)||Long Beach, CA|
|Paul Rundell||G||6-3||170||26||Grihalva Buicks (San Diego St.)||Lakewood, OH|
|Cecil Silas||F||6-6||180||22||U.S. Armed Forces (Ga. Tech)||Miami, FL|
|Alva Wilfong||F||6-2||185||U.S. Armed Forces (Memphis St.)||Puxico, MO|
|Robert Williams||F||6-6||230||24||U.S. Armed Forces (Florida A&M)|
|HEAD COACH: Lt. Norman Pilgrim, U. S. Armed Forces (Sheppard Air Force Base)|
|ASSISTANT COACH: Fon Johnson, Grihalva Buicks (San Diego, CA)|
|MANAGER: Maj. Roy Johnson, U.S. Air Force|
1955 USA PAN AMERICAN MEN'S BASKETBALL TEAM CUMULATIVE STATISTICS
|Robert Williams||5||24-||22- 34||.647||70/ 14.0|
|Robert Kenney||5||27-||8- 17||.471||62/ 12.4|
|Donald Byrd||5||20-||8- 11||.727||48/ 9.6|
|James Hoverder||5||17-||9- 12||.750||43/ 8.6|
|Alva Wilfong||5||14-||8- 15||.533||36/ 7.2|
|Melvin Kelley||5||12-||10- 14||.714||34/ 6.8|
|Cecil Silas||4||8-||4- 6||.667||20/ 5.0|
|Ron Faulkner||5||10-||3- 5||.600||23/ 4.6|
|James Paxson||5||3-||10- 14||.714||16/ 3.2|
|Kenneth Leslie||4||5-||2- 8||.250||12/ 3.0|
|Paul Rundell||2||0-||3- 3||1.000||3/ 1.5|
|Locke Olson||3||2-||0- 2||.000||4/ 1.3|
|James Poole||3||0-||1- 3||.333||1/ 0.3|
|Robert LeBuhn||1||0-||0- 0||.000||0/ 0.0|