Top sports stories for 2018 | Sports | phillytrib.com
It was a great and busy span of milestones, honors, championships and other accomplishments for Philadelphia and its sports fans, who got a little bit of everything in looking back on 2018.
For fans, there was plenty to cheer on and excitement abound among the local scholastic, collegiate and professional teams throughout the year that left them with some fantastic memories heading into 2019.
Philadelphia-area teams and their supporters got to bathe in the glory of reaching the pinnacle of success in their respective sport, while individual athletes — past and present — had the opportunity to bathe in the accolades of their peers.
The Philadelphia Tribune will like to present its top 10 sports stories for 2018, which notes some outstanding legends and invokes some fond memories.
Eagles quarterbacks Nick Foles, left, Nate Sudfeld and Carson Wentz shared the joyous moment with fans during the Super Bowl victory parade in Philadelphia.
— AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma
1. Eagles earn Super Bowl trophy
The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots, 41-33, behind an MVP performance from backup quarterback Nick Foles, who completed 28 of 43 passes for 373 yards with three touchdown receptions while giving up one interception.
Foles took over after starter Carson Wentz sustained a season-ending torn ACL during a 30-23 win on Dec. 16, 2017, against the Los Angeles Rams. He came in at a critical juncture with two games left in the regular season, which had the Eagles finish with a 13-3 record and the NFC East title.
In addition to Foles, defensive end Brandon Graham made a huge play during the Feb. 4 game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. He had a strip sack of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at the 2:16 mark in the fourth quarter to help the Eagles secure the win and become Super Bowl champions for the first time in the franchise’s 85-year history.
Villanova forward Eric Paschall, left, head coach Jay Wright and guard Mikal Bridges acknowledge fans in celebrating the team’s NCAA college basketball championship in Center City. — AP Photo/Patrick Semansky
2. Wildcats are NCAA champs again
Villanova won its second NCAA basketball championship in three years by crushing the University of Michigan, 79-62, to win the national title. Wildcat guard Donte DiVnicenzo was dominant, scoring a game-high 31 points in the tournament finale on April 2 in Alamodome in San Antonio.
It was a special team that ended the season with a dominating run during March Madness and a 36-4 overall record. Head coach Jay Wright had built a terrific basketball program, whose previous NCAA championship trophy came in 2016 and ended a 31-year drought.
Four Wildcat players went on to the NBA: guard Donte DiVincenzo to the Milwaukee Bucks, guard Mikal Bridges to the Phoenix Suns, guard Jalen Brunson to the Dallas Mavericks and forward Omari Spellman to the Orlando Magic.
Former Eagles’ safety Brian Dawkins poses with a bust of himself during inductions at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.— AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
3. Brian Dawkins enters Hall of Fame
Former Philadelphia Eagles safety Brian Dawkins was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame during ceremonies for eight honorees on Aug. 4 in Canton, Ohio.
Dawkins is in the NFL annals as the only player to have a sack, interception, fumble recovery and touchdown catch in a single game.
The 45-year-old former player was with the Eagles from 1996 to 2008, wearing No. 20 and leading the team to five NFC championships. He was named nine times to the Pro Bowls during his 16 seasons in the NFL.
Villanova’s Jalen Brunson was named the John R. Wooden Award as the men’s National Player of the Year. — AP FILE PHOTO
4. Villanova’s Jalen Brunson honored
Former Villanova point guard Jalen Brunson won the John R. Wooden Award as the men’s National Player of the Year.
Brunson guided the Wildcats to two NCAA titles — 2016 and 2018 — during his college career that had him in 76 games and shooting .529 percent for 2 points and .398 for 3 points.
The 22-year-old, 6-foot-3 player was selected by the Dallas Mavericks as the No. 22 pick in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft.
Former Temple University star running back Paul Palmer was named to the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 — the first honoree from the school. He was among 10 former collegiate players and three former coaches to receive honors in New York at the 61st National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner in early December. — Submitted Photo
5. Ex-Temple football star becomes a first
Former Temple running back Paul Palmer was named to the College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 — the first honoree from the school in Philadelphia. He was among 10 former collegiate players and three former coaches to receive honors in New York at the 61st National Football Foundation Annual Awards Dinner in early December.
Palmer is Temple’s career rushing leader with 4,895 yards on 935 carries and 39 touchdowns. He also holds the school’s record for all-purpose yards with 6,613.
In his senior year, Palmer led Division I with 1,866 rushing yards and 2,633 all-purpose yards, breaking Marcus Allen’s single-season all-purpose yardage NCAA record. Palmer finished second in the 1986 Heisman Trophy and Maxwell Award voting. He was a unanimous first-team All-American in 1986 and later was a Temple Athletics Hall of Fame inductee in 2000.
His career in the NFL that started in 1987 had him playing with the Kansas City Chiefs, Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys. He was on the Philadelphia Eagles’ offseason practice squad in 1991. He now does color commentary for radio broadcast of Temple football games.
Donta Scott helped lead Imhotep to a state basketball championship.
6. Imhotep Charter scores hoops title
Imhotep Charter’s basketball team had a big year winning the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Class 4 state championship by topping Sharon, 71-35, to capture the crown on March 26. at the Giant Center in Hershey.
The Panthers were led by forward Donta Scott and shooting guard Dahmir Bishop as Imhotep Charter finished the season with a 31-2 overall record.
Philadelphia 76ers acquired All-Star guard Jimmy Butler (23).
— AP Photo/Mark Lennihan
7. Sixers acquisition bolsters team
The Philadelphia 76ers acquired four-time NBA all-star Jimmy Butler in early November after a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, who got three players and a second-round draft pick in 2022 out of the deal.
At 6-foot-8 and 232 pounds, Butler’s presence has given the Sixers another big-time player to go along with center Joel Embiid and point guard Ben Simmons.
The veteran shooting guard has already paid dividends, hitting some game-winning baskets as the Sixers keep pace in the Eastern Conference in the hope of returning to the playoffs for the second consecutive year when they begin on April 13.
Late Philadelphia 76ers perennial All-Star guard and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Hal Greer died in 2018.
— TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO
8. Sixers great Hal Greer passes
Former Philadelphia 76ers all-star guard and Hall of Famer Hal Greer died at age 81 on Saturday, April 14, 2018.
Greer had a sensational jumpshot from the foul line that enabled him to score 21,586 points in his professional playing career that started in 1958 with the Syracuse Nationals and ended in 1973 with the Sixers. He was named to the NBA All-Star team 10 times and was All-Star Game MVP in 1968.
Greer was a key member on the 76ers’ 1966-67 NBA championship team that featured Wilt Chamberlain, Chet Walker, Billy Cunningham, Wali Jones and Lucious “Luke” Jackson.
Rutgers women’s basketball head coach C. Vivian Stringer won her 1,000th victory against Central Connecticut State.
— AP Photo/Mel Evans, File
9. Rutgers coach gets 1,000th win
Rutgers University women’s basketball head coach C. Vivian Stringer picked up her 1,000th career win, leading the Scarlet Knights to a 73-44 victory over Central Connecticut State in November.
Most people in the Philadelphia may remember Stringer’s coaching days at Cheyney State from 1971-1983, when she won 251 games and led the Wolves to the 1982 NCAA finals. That team featured former University City High star and All-American Yolanda Laney.
The 70-year-old Hall of Famer, born in Edenborn, Pennsylvania, is in her 47th season coaching collegiate basketball, having headed the program at Iowa University from 1983 to 1995 before being hired at Rutgers.
Ora Mae Washington, third from the right, starred on the Philadelphia Tribune women’s basketball team in the 1930s. — Photo courtesy of Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection
10. Ora Mae Washington enshrined
Philadelphia basketball legend Ora Mae Washington was enshrined posthumously into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. The event was held in early September at the memorial center in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Washington, who died in 1971 at the age of 73, was not only an outstanding basketball player, but a great tennis player as well.
Washington played on the Philadelphia Tribune Girls basketball team during the 1930s, leading the squad to 11 consecutive Women’s Colored Basketball championships.