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Teófilo Cruz

Teófilo Cruz

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Teófilo Cruz Downs was a Puerto Rican
Puerto Rican people
A Puerto Rican is a person who was born in Puerto Rico.Puerto Ricans born and raised in the continental United States are also sometimes referred to as Puerto Ricans, although they were not born in Puerto Rico...

 professional basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

 player. Cruz has played in the NCAA, and the National Superior Basketball League of Puerto Rico
National Superior Basketball League of Puerto Rico
The Baloncesto Superior Nacional or BSN is the main Puerto Rican men's basketball league. It currently has 10 teams, but has had many teams in several cities of the island. The league was established in 1929. It has produced players that have distinguished themselves in the NBA, European Leagues,...

 with Santurce Crabbers
Santurce Crabbers
Cangrejeros de Santurce, Spanish for "Santurce Crabbers", refers to several teams based in San Juan, Puerto Rico:* Cangrejeros de Santurce , baseball team of the Puerto Rico Baseball League...

, Guaynabo Mets
Guaynabo Mets
The Mets de Guaynabo are a BSN professional basketball team from Puerto Rico.The Mets began to play as basketball's original Cangrejeros de Santurce. Before the 1976 season, they moved to Guaynabo...

, Canovanas Indians, Río Piedras Cardinals, and Mayagüez Tainos. Cruz has played internationally in Spain with Picadero Damm
Picadero Damm
Picadero Damm was the commercial name of the baseball team from the Picadero Jockey Club in Barcelona, Catalonia during the heyday of baseball in Spain in the 1950s and 1960s. Picadero Jockey Club is now a defunct sports club who had also basketball and handball teams. The commercial name was due...

. Cruz was a member of the Puerto Rican National Basketball Team and represented Puerto Rico in five Olympic Games from 1960 to 1976. On March 1, 2007 he was selected to the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Hall of Fame
FIBA Hall of Fame
FIBA Hall of Fame honors basketball players, coaches and administrators who have contributed to international competitive basketball. It was established by FIBA in 1991. It includes the "Samaranch Library", the biggest basketball library in the world that, as of 2007, has over 10,000 basketball...

.

Biography


Cruz was the first basketballer to compete at five Olympics. This was matched twenty years later by Brazilian Oscar Schmidt
Oscar Schmidt
Oscar Daniel Bezerra Schmidt is a retired Brazilian basketball player. He is also known as Oscar Schmidt Bezerra in Spain, where he played for Fórum Valladolid for the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons, and simply Oscar or Mão Santa in his homeland. At his peak, he was 2.05 m tall and weighed...

 in 1996 and by American Teresa Edwards
Teresa Edwards
-External links:******...

 and Australian Andrew Gaze
Andrew Gaze
Andrew Barry Casson Gaze is Australia's best known basketball player, and one of its most successful. He is considered as the greatest player in the history of the NBL....

 in 2000.

Cruz played for 25 seasons in the Baloncesto Superior Nacional (BSN) of Puerto Rico and was the Most Valuable Player 4 times. He was also selected the defensive player of the year a record five times. He played with the Santurce Crabbers
Santurce Crabbers
Cangrejeros de Santurce, Spanish for "Santurce Crabbers", refers to several teams based in San Juan, Puerto Rico:* Cangrejeros de Santurce , baseball team of the Puerto Rico Baseball League...

, Guaynabo Mets
Guaynabo Mets
The Mets de Guaynabo are a BSN professional basketball team from Puerto Rico.The Mets began to play as basketball's original Cangrejeros de Santurce. Before the 1976 season, they moved to Guaynabo...

, Canovanas Indians, Río Piedras, and Mayagüez Tainos. Teo also led the league in points per game twice and was the first player ever to reach 9,000 points in the BSN (9535 points to be exact). Teo was the starting center of the Puerto Rican National basketball team in the times when Puerto Rico and Brazil were the two dominant teams in the Americas outside the United States. Teo is one of four Puerto Rican basketball players to have carried the nation's flag for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. Teo did this in 1976 during the Montreal Olympics; the others were Carlos Arroyo
Carlos Arroyo
Carlos Alberto Arroyo Bermúdez is a Puerto Rican professional basketball point guard who last played for the Boston Celtics. Arroyo is the fifth player from Puerto Rico to play in the NBA...

 (Athens 2004), Jose "Tonin" Casillas (Rome 1960), and Jaime Frontera (Mexico 1968). After Teo's death on August 31, 2005, they decided to name the sports complex in San Juan in his honor. And before a game against Venezuela, a moment of Silence was held in memory of Teofilo Cruz. He died on August 30, 2005 of a brain hemorrhage.

Career stats


During his career in the National Superior Basketball league, Cruz scored 9,512 points with an average of 16.3 points per game. He captured 4,672 rebounds with an average of 8.0 rebounds per game. He also had 605 assists during his twenty five year career.

International honors and career accomplishments

  • On March 1, 2007, Cruz was selected to the FIBA Hall of Fame
    FIBA Hall of Fame
    FIBA Hall of Fame honors basketball players, coaches and administrators who have contributed to international competitive basketball. It was established by FIBA in 1991. It includes the "Samaranch Library", the biggest basketball library in the world that, as of 2007, has over 10,000 basketball...

    , he was the first player from America to be inducted in the international Hall of Fame, he was part of the first introduction class in history. Cruz participated in 5 Olympic Games in Rome 1960, Tokyo 1964, Mexico 1968, Munich 1972, and Montreal 1976; 1 FIBA World Championship in Puerto Rico 1974; and in numerous Panamerican and Centroamerican Games.

  • National Superior Basketball League Most Valuable Player Award 1962

  • National Superior Basketball League Most Valuable Player Award 1967

  • National Superior Basketball League Most Valuable Player Award 1970

  • National Superior Basketball League Most Valuable Player Award 1971

See also



External links