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Thread: US Basketball Memories – 40 Years Ago

  1. #1
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    Default US Basketball Memories – 40 Years Ago

    Or: 1979, a loaded US basketball international season.

    Part 1 of 3.

    From April through September 1979 as many as seven teams represented USA in different international competitions. In a time when the pros were not allowed to play international ball, some 70 amateur players, primarily from the college ranks and some high schoolers were fielded in international events around the world.

    Governing body of US basketball was at that time the Amateur Basketball Association of USA (ABAUSA), forerunner of today’s USA Basketball.
    https://www.usab.com/history/usa-basketball.aspx

    US teams/events were, in chronological order:

    1) US Select team, China tour, April 7-16, Head coach Gene Bartow (Alabama-Birmingham)

    2) Fiba Intercontinental Cup for Nations, Europe phase, May 5-18, Head coach Ed Badger (Cincinnati)

    3) Pan American Games, San Juan (PUR), July 1-15, Head coach Bob Knight (Indiana)

    4) Spartakiade Games, USSR, July 21-Aug 5, Head coach Lee Rose (Purdue)

    5) 1st Fiba Junior World Championship, Brazil, Aug 15-25, Head coach Gary Cook (Barrington HS)

    6) Fiba Intercontinental Cup for Nations, America phase, Aug 20-Sept 4, Head coach George Blaney (Holy Cross)

    7) World University Games, Mexico City (MEX), Sept 2-13, Head coach Ken Anderson (Wisconsin-Eau Claire)

    Although USA Basketball keeps the history of just four of these teams (#3, 4, 5, 7) all were selections officially representing US and their overall won/lost records can be found on USA-B archive, under their respective head coaches:
    https://www.usab.com/history/all-tim...d-coaches.aspx

    and the involved players:
    https://www.usab.com/history/additio...-roster-a.aspx

    Such a high level of participating teams can be explained with the endeavors of ABAUSA and US Olympic Committee to build up the team players pool for the 1980 Olympics and at the same time to make sure that as many candidates as possible got accustomed to international play. Sending out teams through so many competitions obviously lowered quality and some problems arose when different teams had to be fielded in overlapping tournaments.

    The Pan Am Games and WUG teams were chosen by a selection committee at the end of specific tryouts, while the Junior NT was named after the 2nd National Sports Festival, held in Colorado Springs. The other US squads were pick-up teams, with little or almost no practice time behind.

    Here I try to add some more information, based on extensive research, on teams/events not fully covered by USA Basketball history.


    • US Select team (China tour, April 7-16). Won-loss record 3-2.

    In the context of developing tighter and more regular relationships a US college All-Stars team had been sent to China for the first time in 1973 and further exchanges followed.

    In 1979 another team was assembled to a 10-day tour of China, sponsored by US State Department. An unusual 13-member selection was quickly picked up at the beginning of the NCAA off-season.

    Included were:

    Kim Belton (Stanford, YoG 1980), Devin Durrant (BYU, 1982 *), Bill Hanzlik (Notre Dame, 1980), Mike Harper (North Park, DIII, 1980), Steve Johnson (Oregon State, 1981), Greg Leet (Alabama-Birmingham, 1980), Kyle Macy (Kentucky, 1980), Carl Nicks (Indiana State, 1980), Mark Radford (Oregon State, 1981), Ron Ripley (Wisconsin-Green Bay, 1979), Fred Roberts (Brigham Young, 1982), Larry Speicer (Alabama, 1980), Kiki Vandeweghe (UCLA, 1980).
    *
    actual college career: 1978-80, 1982-84.

    Beside head coach Bartow (who headed the 1973 US team) came along John Bach, veteran ex coach at Fordham and Penn State and Frank Arnold, coach at Brigham Young, in charge to conduct clinics locally.
    Statesman Journal (Salem, Oregon) • Sun, Apr 8, 1979 • Page 59

    Three games were played in Beijing and two in Shanghai. While the 1973 team went unbeaten in China the 1979 college All-Stars surprisingly lost the opener against the August First Army team 104-96, led by 7-foot 2 Mu Tieh-Chu, who took control of both ends of the court. Mu said he had gained much experience from American tour the previous year.
    The game was played before a crowd of 18,000.
    Upset by the outcome, Bach commented:
    This defeat is an example of typical American arrogance in sport. We think we can throw together a team in 10 days and go out and play a national opponent. We can’t do it and we should realize it. It doesn’t look good to lose and we lose respect.
    Statesman Journal (Salem, Oregon) • Tue, Apr 10, 1979 • Page 31

    No individual scores were kept, but Bartow praised the play of juniors Nicks and Hanzlik.
    The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) • Tue, Apr 10, 1979 • Page 7

    Two days later the US team evened its record beating the Beijing Municipal Team 103-78, but the next day lost again to the August 1 Army team 72-69.
    The Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles, California) • Fri, Apr 13, 1979 • Page 36

    US team handily won the last two games in Shanghai against local squads, always played before huge crowds.

    Oregon State’s Johnson and Radford expressed their good impression of Chinese progress in an interview but complained the partisan officiating in the two losses, when US bigs went into early foul trouble against the gigantic Mu. They also admitted that Chinese were good shooters especially from long distance.
    Corvallis Gazette-Times (Corvallis, Oregon) • Thu, Apr 19, 1979 • Page 15-16


    • US Pan American Team Trials (Bloomington, IN, April 18-22) and preparation games (June)

    The 8th Pan American Games marked the peak of US basketball season and 70 players were invited at Indiana University for the tryouts.

    A committee from the ABAUSA chaired by North Carolina coach Dean Smith was in charge to select the 12-man squad.

    The roster of candidates was composed mostly of collegians who would be available for Olympic team consideration the following year.

    No one from NCAA champ Michigan State was invited, as it was thought that Magic Johnson would soon sign with the pros, as well as senior Greg Kelser. Same considerations for runner-up Indiana State’s Larry Bird, while teammate Carl Nicks, a junior, was on the list.

    Senior Michigan’s Phil Hubbard who had one year play eligibility left having missed his junior season for injury, withdrew from trials consideration as he declared for the NBA draft.

    Purdue’s MVP and 1980 1st overall NBA draft choice Joe Barry Carroll decided to not try out as he planned to enroll summer school taking courses in advance to his senior year.
    Journal and Courier • Thu, Apr 19, 1979 • Page 33

    Also invited were two 1979 HS stars, 7-4 Ralph Sampson of Harrisonbourg HS, VA, and guard Isiah Thomas of St Joseph HS, IL, recruited by Indiana.

    Junior superstar Darrell Griffith of Louisville participated in the trials as well, even though few expected he would still be available for the 1980 Olympics.

    The trials dates were so close to the Select team return from China that one of the invited players, Steve Johnson arrived to the camp with one day delay and was excluded from the tryouts roster.
    Corvallis Gazette-Times • Fri, Apr 20, 1979 • Page 11

    From the original invitees list of 70 some players didn’t attend and were replaced, finally making 69 the number of tryouts participants.

    No intrasquad trials records are available, as scrimmages were played with no scores and no clocks, however it surfaced that participants play resulted in “rollercoaster” performances, while prepster star Thomas was reportedly “awed” by the talent displayed at the tryouts. Ralph Sampson, the other high schooler, was praised for his shot blocking ability, while UNC Mike O’Koren showed as one of the most consistent players.
    The Tennessean • Sat, Apr 21, 1979 • Page 41
    The Advocate-Messenger • Fri, Apr 20, 1979 • Page 11,
    The South Bend Tribune • Sun, Apr 22, 1979


    Indiana head coach Bob Knight had no vote in the final team selection but obviously his influence was important.
    Bobby is going to tell us the kind of team he’s looking for and that’s what we’ll strive for
    declared Smith of the selection procedure.
    The Courier-Journal • Fri, Apr 20, 1979 • [First Edition] • Page 47

    The 12-man team roster was announced on April 22nd:

    Michael Brooks (LaSalle, 1980), Sam Clancy (Pittsburgh, 1981), John Duren (Georgetown, 1980), Mike Gminski (Duke, 1980), Ronnie Lester (Iowa, 1980), Kyle Macy, Kevin McHale (Minnesota, 1980), Mike O’Koren (North Carolina, 1980), Ralph Sampson (Virginia, 1983), Darnell Valentine (Kansas, 1981), Danny Vranes (Utah, 1981), Mike Woodson (Indiana, 1980).

    Committee chairman Smith said:
    I’ve never seen more talent in one place, or kids that worked any harder.
    From his side, Knight declared he was very pleased to work with an excellent group of young men.
    Philadelphia Daily News • Mon, Apr 23, 1979 • Page 57

    The team was expected to start training end of May, participating in a friendly tournament in Italy and play two more exhibition games on June 21 and 23 with ex Indiana and Kentucky players.

    Just prior to the Italy tour, guard Valentine dropped off the team due to injury and was replaced by Indiana recruit Thomas (YoG 1983, 1981 Draft). Never had a US NT recorded two high school players in its roster. At the same time, Sampson was unable to join the team for the European trip due to his school obligations and was temporarily replaced by alternate Dick Miller (Toledo, 1980).

    Besides US team and host Italian NT training for the incoming Fiba European Championship, a select team of Moscow, Soviet Union, and the Canadian NT completed the field. Tournament was held in Mestre, near Venice, and played on round-robin system over three days, May 31st – June 2nd.

    Day1 had Italy easily winning 91-66 over the Moscow pick-up selection while USA trounced Canada 84-57 after a closer 1st half (40-32). Freshly arrived after a lengthy travel, Canadian team experienced fatigue and lack of training.

    Canada played better on Day2 narrowly losing to Italy 74-71 (36-30) and USA had no problems with Moscow taking a 40-20 lead in the 1st half and finishing 96-66 (47-27). Clancy (15 points) and Brooks (9) made some spectacular plays, while O’Koren (14), Miller (12) and Woodson (10) also scored in double digits.

    Day3 saw the two unbeaten teams clashing. USA and Italy had already scrimmaged some days before and the Americans had prevailed 39-38 after a rough and tough half game. In the championship game the experienced Italian team edged USA 83-81 after overtime (75-75 at the regulation and 36-33 at halftime). Game was reported again as rough and hard fought. Italian team won thanks to a tight defense and a little help from referees during the first half. Early in the 2nd half Bobby Knight got a technical and was then ejected by referee Mr Albanesi for protests. At this point and with the entire US team ready to walk out, Italian head coach Giancarlo Primo approached the referees prompting them to let Knight stay on the bench. After the game Knight said he had deserved the technical but not the ejection and congratulated Primo for the great defensive effort of his team.

    Lester and Woodson topped the US team each with 14 points, followed by Brooks with 12. Lorenzo Carraro (18) and Dino Meneghin (17) finished as the leading scorers for Italy.

    La Gazzetta dello Sport 1-3 June 1979.

    Few days later, All-American Gminski, perhaps the most mature of the team’s big men withdrew due to illness. It was speculated if the loss of Gminski might be consequence of lack of playing time allocated by head coach Knight (he was the third team-center after McHale and Clancy), but the player confirmed that was not the cause. At the same time Sampson rejoined the team.
    The Index-Journal • Tue, Jun 12, 1979 • Page 6

    On June 19, Ray Tolbert (Indiana, 1981) was announced as a replacement of Gminski.

    The US team played two more exhibition games, against Indiana U. “Old Timers” and ex U. of Kentucky stars.

    On June 21, Indiana Old Timers beat US team 83-81 (40-36) in Bloomington. Indiana team comprised former alumni and current/former pros like Kent Benson, Scott May, Steve Green, Wayne Radford, Quinn Buckner, Joby Wright and Tom Abernethy. The game was close but in the end the mental toughness of the “Old timers” prevailed, as young Thomas said. Benson added that he didn’t think to hold for 40 minutes due to the lack of conditioning, but he and teammates played with the intensity Knight taught them and the young US team should do the same. He also suggested a more aggressive play from US team bigs Sampson and McHale, who “should start doing some pushing and shoving in there and do it smart”.

    For US team Woodson (18) and Duren (10) scored in double digits, followed by Tolbert (9), Vranes (8), Thomas and Lester (7). Benson led Indiana with 18 points, followed by May and Radford (16), Green (11), Buckner (10).

    Attendance was 17,000.

    The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) • Fri, Jun 22, 1979 • Page 8

    On June 22, US team beat the ex UK stars 94-73 (50-37) in Lexington, Ky, in front of a crowd of 12,500. The ex Wildcats assembled a squad of as many as 19 players and this brought disorganization to team play. US team showed some progress and Macy shot much better going 8 of 13 for 17 points. He was tied by Woodson (17), while Lester and Vranes connected with 12. Thomas did not play. For the Kentucky side, Larry Steele finished with 12 points, mostly on long shots, and Rick Robey added 11. Other Kentuckyans scoring were Lou Dampier (8), James Lee (7), Truman Claytor (6), Dan Issel and Mike Phillips (4).
    The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky) • Sat, Jun 23, 1979 • Page 7

    In July, the young US Pan Am team went undefeated to win gold in Puerto Rico, overcoming the psychological pressure from the turmoil surrounding head coach Knight. See also:
    https://www.si.com/vault/1979/07/23/...or-in-san-juan


    End of part 1.

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    Part 2 of 3.

    • Fiba Intercontinental Cup for Nations team, Europe phase (May 5-13, various places), won-lost record 1-3. (May 17-18 Exhib. games vs Yugoslavia), w-l 1-1.

    International Cup for Nations was a short lived Fiba tournament with the participation of a number of nations from Europe and Americas playing each other on a two-leg system in both continents. It had been held in 1975 and 1977 already.

    US initial team was announced late in April:

    Butch Carter (Indiana, 1980), Pat Cummings (Cincinnati, 1979), John Gerdy (Davidson, 1979), Steve Johnson, Albert King (Maryland, 1981), Eddie Lee (Cincinnati, 1981), Mark Radford, Larry Smith (Alcorn State, 1980), Lavon Williams (Kentucky, 1980), Rudy Woods (Texas A&M, 1982), Steve Wright (Boston, 1980), Jack Zimmerman (Dayton, 1980).

    Only Carter, Smith and Woods had participated in the Pan Am Games team tryouts, Johnson and Radford had played with the Select team in China.

    Four games were scheduled in Lyon, Kiev, Prague and Tel Aviv, while two exhibitions against Yugoslav NT were to follow in Belgrade and Nis.

    Just prior to the departure for Europe, 5th year senior Cummings who had been in the sights of NBA since 1978, withdrew declaring himself for the draft.
    The Cincinnati Enquirer • Thu, May 3, 1979 • Page 19

    The 11-player contingent headed to France missing its most experienced big man and as usual lacking practice and team work.

    On May 6, France beat USA 98-86 at Palais des Sports of Lyon. Americans had the height advantage but French team shot better and put up a brilliant performance, opening a 24-point lead at the beginning of the 2nd half. US boys cut the gap (70-59) scoring 14 points in a row after Smith entered in the game but that was all they could do. Gerdy led all the scorers with 25 points, Woods netted 13, King and Williams had 10 apiece. Apollo Faye led France with 22, followed by Jacques Cachemire (18), Eric Beugnot (17) and Hervé Dubuisson (15).
    Le Figaro, May 6 1979, page 26.

    Short off-topic: Faye (2.08 m/6-10) was born in Dakar (Senegal) Serigne Cheikoun Faye and was nicknamed Apollo due to his rocket-like elevation. He had been naturalized after joining French clubs Cabourg and Limoges and played 80 games for the French NT. Two other naturalized players showed off in the game, George Brosterhous (Texas, 1973) who also played one season in Italy and Bill Cain (Iowa, 1970), both recording long careers with the French NT. Brosterhous scored 11 and Cain 5 against USA.

    The touring US team also lost the next game against strong Soviet Union 91-77 (43-38) and was then upset by Czechoslovakia 77-75 (41-26).

    Russians took control of the game early (16-6) and were in control after that. Sergey Below scored 23 points, while Gerdy led USA with 16.
    Casper Star-Tribune • Wed, May 9, 1979 • Page 21

    Czechs got off to a good start dominating the first half, while the Americans rallied late in the game but that was not enough.
    The Berkshire Eagle • Fri, May 11, 1979 • Page 26

    US team finally earned its first victory downing Israel at Yat Eliahu stadium, 82-78 (44-42). Americans were again led by Gerdy with 22 points, while Smith and Johnson added 12 each. Mickey Berkowitz led Israel with 22 points.
    The Press Democrat (Santa Rosa, California) • Mon, May 14, 1979 • Page 34

    With only one win in the Interconti Cup, US team played two friendlies in Yugoslavia against the world champions. In the first game Yugos prevailed 92-89, offsetting 23 points by Johnson. US edged Yugoslavia in the second exhibition played in Nis, 85-84 (no further details).
    The Record (Hackensack, New Jersey) • Fri, May 18, 1979 • Page 53
    Dayton Daily News • Sun, May 20, 1979 • Main Edition • Page 70

    Closing with an overall 2-4 record, head coach Badger later conceded that Europeans had made a lot of progress, however insisting that US basketball was still the best. He said his team was lacking international experience and had practiced less than two weeks, leaving the best prospects at home with the Pan American team. Badger also said he thought his team was in better physical condition than any other, except France. He was so surprised by the French team performance that at a point in the game he wound up diving on a loose ball in order to shake up his team.
    The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio) • Thu, May 24, 1979 • Page 25


    • 7th Spartakiade Games (Vilnius, USSR, July 21-Aug. 5). Won-lost 4-2.

    US initial team:

    John Bates (West Virginia, 1980), Joe Barry Carroll (Purdue, 1980), Russell Cross (Manley HS 1980, Purdue 1984*), Jim Johnstone (Wake Forest, 1983), Chad Kinch (North Carolina-Charlotte, 1980), Jeff Lamp (Virginia, 1981), David Lawrence (McNeese State, 1980), Jeff Ruland (Iona, 1980), Andrew Toney (Southwestern Louisiana, 1980), Brian Walker (Purdue, 1981), Gary Winton (US Military Acadeny, 1978). * 1983 draft.

    Herb Williams (Ohio State, 1981), who made sensation among the crowd for shattering a backboard with a vicious dunk in a tournament game, was a late addition replacing Ruland. Another addition to the initial 11-man team was HS star and future Indiana recruit Mike LaFave (Scecina Memorial HS 1980, Indiana 1980-81, Ball State 1983-84). The young US team therefore fielded two current HS players and had a third teenager in Johnstone.

    Though assembled in a hurry due to late invitations from Russia, the all-star team bound to Spartakiade (aka Spartacade by US press) and coached by Lee Rose of Purdue played a preparation game with former Boilermakers alumni on July 18 at Mackey Arena, West Lafayette, IN. Among ex Purdue glories were Rick Mount, “Big” John Garrett, Walter Jordan, Bruce Parkinson, Frank Kendrick, Tom Scheffler, Jerry Sichting, Bob Ford, Eugene Parker and Billy Keller. US team whipped the out-of-shape and slightly disorganized Boilermakers Alumni 102-74 (46-40) but showed flaws in backcourt scoring attitude and slowness in getting back down the court after scoring or after an error in attack. Thanks to its frontcourt US team hit a strong 54.9% FG going for 39 on 51 shots. Incoming senior Carroll highlighted the game with 29 points and 13 rebounds, Williams followed with 16, Kinch had 12, Lawrence and Toney 10 apiece. 10 of 11 healthy players scored, as Lamp sat out with flu. Jordan and Kendrick scored in double digits for the former Boilermakers Alumni with 15 and 12 points. Attendance was 6,690.
    The Indianapolis News (Indianapolis, Indiana) • Thu, Jul 19, 1979 • Page 31

    For the US team at the Spartakiade tournament see: https://www.usab.com/history/additio...iade-team.aspx

    At the end of the Russian tournament coach Rose praised his young players, who had improved game after game finishing with four straight wins. He urged for a strategy to be put in place for the Olympic team, making the final selections as soon as possible after NCAA playoffs and scheduling an exhibition series overseas to improve team work and gain international experience. He added that several members of his squad were candidates for the Olympic team, recommending guard Toney, pf Williams and pivotman Carroll. Rose also remembered that his team had to cope with flu who hit two of his starting players (Lamp and Kinch) who sparingly played in the first two lost games. Moreover, in the opening loss to Leningrad Carroll caught a finger in the eye while blocking a shot, forcing him out of the game. In the other loss against Ukraine he turned his ankle and only played 14’. In his playing time, however, Carroll was overwhelmed by 7-foot 5 Vladimir Tkachenko and other 7-footer Aleksander Belostenny.
    The Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Indiana) • Sun, Aug 5, 1979 • Page 26
    Austin American-Statesman (Austin, Texas) • Sun, Aug 5, 1979 • Page 141


    Though official scoring records are not available, we know from press news that after four games Toney had 80 points, Carroll 43, Williams 42 and Lamp 41.
    St. Joseph Gazette (St. Joseph, Missouri) • Wed, Aug 1, 1979 • Page 21

    In the next game won against Latvia, Toney scored 20 points, Williams 18, Kinch 16, Carroll and Lawrence 12.
    Statesman Journal (Salem, Oregon) • Thu, Aug 2, 1979 • Page 7

    Finally, in the win vs Lithuania for the 5th place, Carroll pumped in 28 points, followed by Williams and Toney with 16. Thus, Toney finished as the team’s high scorer with 116 points in six games, preceding Carroll with 83 and Williams with 76, while Lamp was fourth with 57 points and 33 rebounds.
    Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Honolulu, Hawaii) • Fri, Aug 3, 1979 • Page 31
    Reno Gazette-Journal (Reno, Nevada) • Sat, Aug 4, 1979 • Page 15
    Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia) • Wed, Aug 29, 1979 • Page 22



    • 1st Fiba Junior World Championship (Brazil, Aug 15-25). Won-lost 8-0.

    Originally tagged “World Championship for Junior Men” the tournament name changed into “U19 World Championsip” in 2007 (from 2017 called U19 World Cup). Initially played every four years, it became biennial since 2007.

    12 teams participated in the first championship, six from Americas, three from Europe, plus Australia, Egypt and the Philippines.

    https://archive.fiba.com/pages/eng/f...Men/index.html

    US team probably was among the best ever assembled for this tournament.

    The final roster comprised eight players with one year college experience and four from high schools.

    Matt Clark (Oklahoma State, YoG 1983 as rs senior), Darren Daye (John F Kennedy HS, CA, 1979, UCLA 1983), Eric Floyd (Georgetown, 1982), Bob Hansen (Dowling HS, IA, 1979, Iowa 1983), Scott Hastings (Arkansas, 1982), Lafayette Lever (Arizona State, 1982), Sam Perkins (Shaker HS, NY, 1980, North Carolina 1984), Randy Reed (Forrest Park JC, MO, 1980, Kansas State 1982), Fred Roberts, Terry White (Texas-El Paso, 1982), Maurice Williams (Southern California, 1982), James Worthy (Ashbrook HS, NC, 1979, North Carolina 1983).

    A team with some pedigree, with four future NBA 1st Round picks (Floyd, Lever, Perkins and Worthy, the 1982 1st overall pick)!

    The selection took place following the 2nd National Sports Festival, aka US Olympic Festival (July 27 – Aug 1) in Colorado Springs where 44 players from East, Midwest, South and West teams played a 4-game tournament.

    1979 was a memorable HS recruiting year with such standouts, besides Worthy, like Dominique Wilkins, Isiah Thomas, Ralph Sampson, Sam Bowie, Clark Kellogg, Steve Stipanovich, Sidney Green, but none of them showed off at the Festival. Sampson and Thomas had just played with the Sr NT at the Pan American Games, Bowie and other superstars were unavailable at that time.

    The selection committee decided to bring some experience to the team, choosing as many as nine members with college experience. The initial roster included in fact Jimmy Black, a guard from UNC, later replaced by alternate and future teammate Sam Perkins, a shot-blocker specialist with one HS year remaining.

    Another team member with college experience Roberts, from BYU, had already played in April with the US Select team in China.

    Even without many big stars, the tournament level was “phenomenal”, as ABAUSA executive director Bill Wall commented during the Festival, adding that “the nucleus of the future US international teams was there”.
    Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia) • Wed, Aug 1, 1979 • Page 24

    The South team, led by MVP Worthy swept the Sports Festival tournament with a 4-0 record and contributed with five other players, Clark, Daye (a McDonald’s All-American game MVP), Hastings, White and Black (a Festival All-Tournament). From other finalist West (2-2) Williams, Lever and Roberts (another All-Tournament and runner-up for MVP honor) were picked. Floyd and alternate Perkins came from East team (2-2), while winless Midwest contributed with Hansen and All-Tournament Reed, the Festival’s top scorer and rebounder.

    The US team played a preparation game at the Market Square Arena in Indianapolis against a Hoosier All-Star team on August 11, 1979.

    Hoosier All-Stars were a strange mix of ex and current pros (ex Indiana Pacers Mel Daniels, Harold Johnson, Bruce Parkinson and rookie Fred Sanders), college players (Indiana State’s Carl Nicks and Brad Miley), as well as some Indiana high schoolers. US Juniors won in impressive fashion 104-81 (52-37), behind Floyd’s 17 points, Roberts and Hansen 14, Worthy 10. Perkins had already joined the team as he appears in the box score with 6 points. For the record, Nicks of the Hoosier stars led all scorers with 30. An outstanding guard, he had helped Larry Bird to reach the 1979 NCAA Tournament and the Championship game. Nicks had also played with the US Select team in China and attended the Pan Am trials and he would be at the incoming WUG tryouts as well.
    The Indianapolis Star, Aug 12, 1979, page 39, 41

    US Juniors run to the gold medal was never in doubt and even in the final against host Brazil and in front of a hostile crowd, the North Americans took a substantial lead early managing to keep a +20 points cushion through the end of the game.

    No official MVP was named, but press observers indicated Worthy as the most outstanding player, followed by Daye, Lever, Roberts, White and team’s high scorer “Sleepy” Floyd.

    Gary Cook of Barrington HS, IL, the first HS coach ever to serve as head coach of a US team in international competition, said he had so an easy job directing his boys that he felt like on holiday.

    Giganti del Basket – 10/1979
    Chicago Tribune, Apr 04, 1980, page 48



    End of part 2.
    Last edited by carlo; 01-17-2020 at 08:05 AM.

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    Part 3 of 3.

    • Fiba Intercontinental Cup for Nations, America phase (Aug 20 – Sept 4, Argentina). Won-lost record 4-1.

    This represented the second phase of the Intercontinental Cup and a new US team was named to play games in Argentina.

    Very little is known on this event and news are somewhat inaccurate or lacking.

    US Team:

    Mark Aguirre (DePaul, 1982, 1981 Draft), Roosevelt Bouie (Syracuse, 1980), Tom Chambers (Utah, 1981), Don Collins (Washington State, 1980), Bill Hanzlik, Frank Johnson (Wake Forest, 1981), Bob Kelly (Holy Cross, 1980), Ronnie Perry (Holy Cross, 1980), Darnell Valentine, Jay Vincent (Michigan State, 1981), Buck Williams (Maryland, 1981).

    Hanzlik had played with the All-Star team in China and Valentine was a member of the initial Pan Am team.

    This was a talented young pick-up squad and some stars like Aguirre, Hanzlik and Valentine though invited to try out for the incoming World University tournament chose instead to play for the Interconti squad because no tryouts were necessary. Some sources reported that also young Duke star Gene Banks joined the team bound to Argentina, but this is nowhere mentioned in the USA Basketball players archive and other press sources state that the team comprised 11 players.
    The Salt Lake Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah) • Tue, Aug 21, 1979 • Page 22

    It’s worth to mention that four members of this little-known All-Star team (Aguirre, Hanzlik, Valentine and Williams) would be selected for the 1980 Olympics.

    The US Interconti team finished with a 4-1 record, among others avenging the losses suffered in May against France, with a hard fought victory 109-107 (53-48) and Czechoslovakia, but USSR again proved too much and too experienced winning against the American collegians 107-95 in the championship game.


    • World University Games team trials (Colorado Springs, August 16-19) and preparation games (Aug 22-26)

    29 candidates (25 from some sources) participated in the WUG trials at the US Olympic center in Colorado Springs and 15 players were named to the initial team:

    Robert Cattage (Auburn, 1981), Darwin Cook (Portland, 1980), Joe Merten (Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 1981), Kevin McHale, Darryl Mitchell (Minnesota, 1982), Jawaan Oldham (Seattle, 1980), Rich Raivio (Portland, 1980), Ulysses Reed (Arkansas, 1981), Jeff Ruland, Larry Smith, Tommy Springers (Vanderbilt, 1980), Andrew Toney, Craig Tucker (Coffeyville JC, 1980 & Illinois 1982), Jeff Wolf (North Carolina, 1980) and Rudy Woods.

    For memo: McHale, Smith, Toney and Woods had already played in previous US teams, Ruland had been an initial member announced for the Spartakiade team.

    The roster had been trimmed from 18 to 15 after Rick Mahorn (Hampton), Dick Miller and Elston Turner (Mississippi) didn’t make the second cut.

    The 15-man US team played a round-robin tournament in Colorado Springs with the participation of Bulgaria, Canada and Israel.

    In the first game USA boys easily beat Canada 83-61, with 16 points from Andrew Toney, then annihilated Bulgaria 103-55 (Merten 16, Toney 12) and finally beat Israel 72-61 coming from behind.

    With the cut of Cattage and Mitchell the roster was reduced to 13 and Wolf was finally left out just prior to the departure for Mexico City.

    The Daily Sentinel (Grand Junction, Colorado) • Sun, Aug 19, 1979 • Page 26
    Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) • Wed, Aug 22, 1979 • Page 11
    The Daily Advertiser (Lafayette, Louisiana) • Sun, Aug 26, 1979 • Page 60
    Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, Wisconsin) • Wed, Aug 29, 1979 • Page 11

    For the US team at WUG tournament see: https://www.usab.com/history/world-u...ames-1979.aspx

    During the tournament head coach Anderson pointed out that while two different US teams were competing at the same time in Mexico and Argentina, Yugoslavia had just one (at WUG), and Russia opted just for the Interconti Cup. Anderson suggested that sending out a number of teams had obviously affected the quality level but also admitted that US officials had the opportunity to scout a lot of players in view of the Olympics.
    The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) • Tue, Sep 11, 1979 • Page 69

    No individual stats of 1979 WUG are available but it was reported that Toney again capped a sparkling tournament with an outstanding scoring performance, leading US with 21.1 ppg. Coach Anderson said of him:
    Andrew played very well. He was our leading scorer and he played best in the big games. Personally, I think he should be given a shot at the Olympics for three reasons – he plays well under pressure, he shoots well against either a zone, which you see a lot in international competition, or a man-for-man and his defense is good.
    That was Toney’s second Olympic endorsement, after the Russian Spartakiade tourney.

    Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Florida) • Fri, Sep 14, 1979 • Page 38
    The Daily Advertiser (Lafayette, Louisiana) • Thu, Sep 27, 1979 • Page 20

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