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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Carpenter a real winner

Thursday, March 26, 2009

It must have been kind of odd to have to look up at someone nicknamed Shorty.

But when you were talking to 6-7 Gordon "Shorty" Carpenter, look up you had to.

Carpenter (1919-1988) was one of the most decorated athletes ever in the state of Arkansas, and he was born and raised right in Sharp County.

To put it mildly, Carpenter was simply a champion every time he picked up a basketball.

In high school, he was the go-to player on the Ash Flat Eagles' 1939 state championship team.

After he graduated from Ash Flat High, Carpenter went on to play basketball at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. There, he played for Glen Rose first, then Eugene Lambert, from 1941-43.

The Razorbacks finished first in the Southwest Conference twice during those years and Carpenter was named to the All-Conference squad in 1943. During Carpenter's sophomore season, the Hogs went unbeaten in SWC play.

Leaving Fayetteville, Carpenter played AAU basketball for the Phillips 66 Oilers, out of Bartlesville, Ok., and later with the Denver Chevrolets.

During his five-year tenure with the 66ers, Carpenter helped the team win six AAU championships.

He then went on to play two years and coach one year with the Denver team. At the helm of the Chevrolets, Carpenter guided the team to South America, where Denver came in second in the World Tournament.

Then, in 1948, Carpenter was chosen to represent his country by playing basketball for the United States Olympic team.

Carpenter did his country proud, helping the 1948 Olympic team come back home from London with the Gold Medal. That team was coached by legendary University of Kentucky Head Coach Adolph Rupp and featured players like Alex Groza, Ralph Beard, Bob Kurland and Cliff Barker.

As head coach of the United States men's national team in 1950, Carpenter's team captured the Silver Medal at the FIBA World Championships.

When his playing and coaching days came to an end, Carpenter still stayed close to the game by working as a referee in the Big Eight Conference.

Carpenter is a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame.

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