Oscar Furlong

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Oscar Alberto Furlong (born October 22, 1927 in Buenos Aires) was an Argentine basketball player and World Champion who competed in the 1948 Summer Olympics and in the 1952 Summer Olympics. Furlong was one of Argentina's best basketball players ever and one of the most dominant international players of his era.

Early years[edit]

Nicknamed Pillín and El Primer Crack, he started playing basketball and tennis at the Gymnastics and Tennis Club of Villa del Parque. He would go on to concentrate in basketball in the youth divisions of Club Gimnasia y Esgrima de Villa del Parque. After his debut with the first team in 1944, he would go on to win 6 league titles (1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1951 and 1954) in the now defunct amateur Argentine Basketball Federation.

International basketball[edit]

In London 1948 after a continued dominance by the United States in the Olympics basketball competition, his 18 points while playing Center, helped the Argentina national basketball team stay within a basket of them during a 59-57 loss. After the game, the United States coach Omar Browning called him "one of the finest ball players I ever saw".[1] The Argentina national basketball team finished fifteenth in the 1948 tournament after not being able to qualify to the eight-team second phase. Furlong would also receive and declined offers to play in the United States for the Minneapolis Lakers, the Baltimore Bullets and legendary coach Adolph Rupp of the University of Kentucky.

Furlong was a member of the Argentine team which won the first World Championship in 1950, being the star of the team, the second top-scorer and the MVP of the tournament. He also scored 20 points in the final against the United States national basketball team.

In the 1951 Pan-American Games, he helped Argentina win the Silver medal in basketball.

In the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, his team earned a fourth place finish in the basketball tournament, after losing in the semifinals against the United States 85-76.

In 1953 after his team won the Gold medal in the World University Games, he received a scholarship to play basketball for Southern Methodist University in the United States.

In 1955 he would help the Argentina squad repeat the Silver medal result in the Pan-American Games.

Furlong was inducted into the FIBA Hall of Fame in September 2007.

College career[edit]

In 1953 he attended Southern Methodist University. He graduated in 1956 after reaching the Final Four, while playing alongside All American and future NBA player Jim Krebs.

Retirement[edit]

In 1957 while playing for Villa del Parque, Furlong was forced to take an early retirement at the age of 30, after the new military government and Amador Barros Hurtado (President of the Argentine Basketball Confederation), determined the controversial decision that all members of the world championship team should be considered professional, as they had breached the ‘Amateurism Code’ of the IOC after receiving cars as gifts. On 8 January 1957, all the members of the World Championship team were banned for life from participation in basketball. Juan Perón had previously left the country to escape the coup d'état of his presidency.

Furlong would go on to play tennis, where he attained a seventh place in the national rankings. In 1966 he joined the committee of the Argentine Tennis Association (AAT), becoming vice-president and eventually coach of the Davis Cup team. In 1977 his last year as a coach, his team reached the semi-finals of the Davis Cup.

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