When the Philadelphia Eagles added veteran running back Felix Jones this week, it was a move that provided the team with more depth. Jones comes to the Eagles from their NFC East arch rival Dallas Cowboys. So, the Eagles know all about him. He joins running backs LeSean McCoy and Bryce Brown.
Despite a 4-12 season last year, McCoy and Brown both certainly had their moments as the team’s featured backs. McCoy had 200 carries for 840 yards and two touchdowns. Brown had 115 attempts for 564 yards and four TDs. Of course, McCoy was injured part of the season.
You can always use an extra running back and right now, an extra running back in Eagles head coach Chip Kelly’s offense looks like a good thing.
Jones, a former first-round pick of the Cowboys in 2008, has rushed for 2,728 yards and 11 TDs on 569 carries while adding 127 receptions for 1,062 yards with three TDs during his year pro career. He has averaged 4.8 yards a carry.
A year ago, Jones, 26, started seven of the Cowboys 16 games and gained 402 yards and scored three TDs on 111 carries and caught 25 passes for 262 yards with two touchdowns. He had his best season in 2010 as part of a three-back system that included running backs Marion Barber and Tashard Choice, picking up 800 yards with one TD while grabbing 48 receptions for 450 yards and one TD.
Jones seems to be accustomed to playing with two other backs who carry the ball so he should be able to make the adjustment with the Eagles. His ability to run and catch gives him the flexibility needed to get on the field and make a contribution.
He also brings great credentials to the Eagles.
Jones has been a solid contributor on every level. He was a huge star at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, OK rushing for 2,282 yards and 48 touchdowns on 205 carries. He averaged 11.1 yards a carry. After his scholastic career, he was a three-time All-SEC selection at Arkansas where he picked up 5,099 career all-purpose yards for the Razorbacks, joining Darren McFadden (5,881 yards) as the only players in school history to surpass the 5,000 career all-purpose yards.
When Philadelphia 76ers managing owner Josh Harris introduced Sam Hinkie as the Sixers new general manager and president of basketaball operations at the team’s press conference a few days ago, it became evident that Hinkie has a lot of work to do this offseason. Moreover, he has a lot of work to do in a short period of time.
“I think the first 100 days will be a real whirlwind here,” Hinkie said. “I welcome that. It’s a whirlwind for every team every year if you’re doing your job the way I like to do it.”
Hinkie has a whirlwind of decisions to make in the coming weeks. He has to hire a head coach. He has to get ready for the NBA draft lottery on May 21. After that, the Sixers will know where they’re picking in the first round of the draft. They will have to evaluate some of the top prospects. Then, of course, they will participate in the draft on June 27. After that, NBA free agency begins on July 1. That’s a lot of work.
Hinkie comes to Philly with plenty of experience. He spent eight years with the Houston Rockets, most recently as executive vice president of basketball operations since 2010 where he was respsonsible for the Rockets’ considerable and ground-breaking analytic efforts, which included utilizing data to improve decision making in the draft, via free agency and trades, and in-game strategy. He also provided day-to-day management of basketball operations, managed the salary cap and did some scouting among the college and professional ranks.
If he can help the Sixers turn the corner and have the kind of year the Rockets had this season, that would be a vast improvement. Houston finished the regular with a 45-37 record. They were eliminated from the first round of the NBA playoffs by the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Rockets were able to make the playoffs largely because of James Harden, who previously played for the Thunder. In fact, he was a key member of Oklahoma City with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Harden was named Sixth Man of the Year last season. Hinkie was able to swing a trade for Harden who made the all-star team.
He’s going to need to make some moves over the summer. His biggest decision will be Andrew Bynum who will become an unrestricted free agent. Bynum’s situation has to be addressed as soon as free agency begins. That will dictate how everything else will fall into place.
Hinkie will need to somehow pull off some kind of significant trade to make this team better. He has three returning players in Jrue Holiday, Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner who have been here and played on the Sixers last two playoff teams.
It’s going to be interesting to see how he puts everything together. The first 100 days appear to be busy ones. He has a lot of decisions to make. And they have to be good ones to move this franchise forward.
Miles Avery, a four-time United States assistant Olympic coach and coach of the 2004 Olympic all-around gymnastic champion Paul Hamm, will be a speaker at Sayre- Morris Recreation Center, 5835 Spruce St., on Saturday at 12:15 p.m. Avery will talk to youngsters about goal setting and positive thinking.
Following Avery’s visit to Sayre-Morris, he will be a special guest at the GymCrew Acrobatics Clinic at Upper Merion Gymnastics & Dance, 421 Feheley Drive in King of Prussia. The clinic runs from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Avery will be on site to give coaching tips to all athletes attending the clinic, including the Philadelphia Freestylers, acrobats from Philadelphia’s Sayre-Morris and Vare Recreation Centers. The Freestylers are currently training for the AAU Age Group National Championships, gymnastics and freestyle acrobatics divisions, being held in June 15-16 in Orlando, Fla.
Avery grew up in Philadelphia and attended Temple University, becoming a USA Senior National Team member from 1981-84. In 2001, as head gymnastics coach at Ohio State, his team won NCAA Team Championship, earning him Coach of the Year honors. In 2005 and 2008, he was named USA Gymnastics Coach of the Year.
Children and parents may attend Avery’s motivational speaking session at no charge. Registration fee for the GymCrew Acrobatics Clinic is $25. For more information, go to www.gym-crew.com or call (888) 850-9159.
GymCrew, which is an acrobatics brand, was founded in 2008 by former NCAA gymnasts. GymCrew seeks to encourage participation in all aspects of acrobatics. The goal is to generate public awareness for acrobatics by revolutionizing the art of the sport.
Billie Jean King, Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation dedicate Hunting Park Tennis Courts
The Fairmount Park Conservancy and Philadelphia Parks & Recreation Center, in partnership with Billie Jean King, the Philadelphia Freedoms, and United States Tennis Association (USTA), dedicated six brand new tennis courts in Hunting Park. The $500,000 project is a part of the Hunting Park Revitalization Project, a long-term comprehensive plan led by the Fairmount Park Conservancy to turn the 87-acre facility into a safe and well-maintained space that will provide a place for healthy recreation for children and families,bring neighborhoods together and serve as a catalyst for larger neighborhood renewal.
The tennis courts will be located between 9th and 10th Street at Hunting Park Avenue. Hunting Park now boasts six state of the art tennis courts which sit on the east side of the park. The courts were designed and constructed by the Philadelphia Parks & Recreation with guidance from the USTA. The two center courts are color-coated using World Team Tennis instructional colors, the first public courts of this kind in the country. The courts are also equipped with QuickStart tennis lines which allow children 10-years-old and younger to learn and play the game.
King, a tennis legend, is a supporter of the project through her World Team Tennis team, the Philadelphia Freedoms. Year-round youth tennis programming will be facilitated by Legacy Youth Tennis and Education, which will include an afterschool program for the children in the Hunting Park community. Additional outreach for this crucial programming was undertaken by Black Women in Sport Foundation, which has substantial history in Hunting Park neighborhood.
Jahri Evans to hold football camp and celebrity bash
Jahri Evans, the New Orleans Saints Pro Bowl offensive guard, will hold two special events in Philadelphia. Evans, a former Frankford High football standout, will have his 5th annual Celebrity Bash on May 31 at Dave & Buster’s in Franklin Mills Mall from 7 p.m. to midnight. There will be music, food, pool, bowling, games, autographs, a photo booth and auction items. The cost is $25 for adults and kids $15 in advance and $5 more at the door.
On June 1, Evans will hold his 5th annual free football camp at Frankford High School, Large and Dyre streets. The youth football and cheer camp will start at 9 a.m. The varsity skills football camp will take place at Noon. Evans is a four-time Pro Bowl player who also helped the Saints win Super Bowl XLIV. For more information on these events, go to www.jahrievans.com.
CBS3 anchor Ukee Washington inducted into Delaware Sports Hall of Fame
Ukee Washington, the CBS3/CWPhilly 57 morning anchor and Talk Philly co-host, was a star athlete during his days at Dover High School. Washington was recently inducted into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual banquet at the Chase Center in Wilmington.
During his years at Dover, Washington was both first team all-state and Delaware co-player of the year in 1976 in basketball. He was seventh leading scorer in Delaware history with 1,305 points when he graduated. He also made his mark in track, breaking the state record in the 110-meter high hurdles.
On Saturday Washington will be the guest of honor at Neumann University’s commencement celebrations when he will be given an Honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D) degree. The degree will be conferred by James Delaney, chairperson of the university board of trustees, and Dr. Rosalie Mirenda, president of Neumann University. Approximately 3,000 people will attend the ceremonies, including 450 undegraduates and 150 graduate students whose degrees will be confirmed that day.
Washington (born Ulysses Samuel Washington III) joined the Channel 3 news team as a sports anchor in July 1986. In 1996, Washington moved over to the news desk as early morning and noon news anchor. A graduate of the University of Richmond, Washington makes his home in Wilmington, Del.
It looks like late basketball great Wilt Chamberlain could have his photo on a United States postage stamp according to an article in the latest edition of Linn’s Stamp News, the world’s largest weekly stamp newspaper which covers the postal service, stamp collection and stamp information. Chamberlain, a former Overbrook High and NBA legend, could join a number of well known public figures the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee is scheduling for 2014 according to the story.
The list tentatively includes Chamberlain along with R&B singer James Brown, jazz singer Sarah Vaughn, the Beatles, actress Elizabeth Taylor, Apple’s Steve Jobs and others. These were some of the proposed selections from the CSAC meeting according to the committee’s minutes from the Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 meetings that were obtained by Linn’s Stamp News from an anonymous source.
Chamberlain is tentatively slated to receive a stamp in his honor in February 2014, which happens to be Black History Month, along with Ralph Ellison, author of “The Invisible Man,” and The Beatles according to the story. Of course, the official announcement has to come from the U.S. Postal Service.
“The subjects are not final until they’re announced by the postal service,” said Roy Betts, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.
The official announcment will come later this year.
The CSAC receives thousands of proposals for stamps. The committee takes a close look at the proposals and gives their recommendations for stamp selections to the postmaster general.
The grassroots effort to help Chamberlain receive a postage stamp began with a sports column in The Tribune on Feb. 15, 2008. The six-year campaign for the 7-foot-1, 275-pound basketball star produced more than 65,000 signatures on petitions in support of Chamberlain getting his likeness on a postage stamp.
A year ago, a luncheon was held to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his 100-point game. On March 2, 1962, Chamberlain scored 100 points leading the Philadelphia Warriors to a 169-147 victory over the New York Knicks in Hershey. In that game, he shot 36-for-63 from the field and 28-for-32 from the free throw line.
Chamberlain scored 31,419 points and grabbed 23,924 rebounds during his NBA career. He won two NBA championships. He guided the Philadelphia 76ers to an NBA title during the 1966-67 season and led the Los Angeles Lakers to a league crown in the 1971-72 season.
As a college basketball player, he was an All-American at the University of Kansas. He scored 52 points and grabbed 31 rebounds in his first varsity basketball game. In 1957, he led Kansas to the NCAA Finals and was named MVP of the Final Four.
He had a tremendous high school career at Overbrook leading them to three Public League and two city championships. Chamberlain scored 2,252 points in his scholastic career.
If approved by the U.S. Postal Service, Chamberlain will join sports legends such as Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, Joe Louis and Jesse Owens who were honored with postage stamps. He will also be the first basketball player to have his image on a postage stamp.
It’s been a big year for Josh Ockimey, Neumann-Goretti’s outstanding baseball player. Ockimey, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound junior, turned another great season at first base for the Saints. N-G will need his home run swing and RBI power when the Saints visit St. Joseph’s Prep on Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. in the first round of the Catholic League playoffs.
“It should be a great game,” Ockimey said. “St. Joseph’s Prep has a good team. Two good pitchers will be throwing in that game. Joe Kinee will be going for us. Joe will play his college baseball at Maine. Tom Mullin will be pitching for St. Joe’s Prep. He’s going to Penn State. That’s two Division I pitchers in the playoffs.”
Ockimey has another year at Neumann-Goretti. However, he will be playing major college baseball following his scholastic career. Earlier this year, he gave a verbal commitment to the University of Arkansas. The Razorbacks are a powerhouse team in the Southeastern Conference.
“I heard from some pretty good schools like North Carolina, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Missouri and Temple,” Ockimey said. “They all have good programs. Arkansas had seen me play in a baseball tournament in Jupiter, Fla. I didn’t want to make a quick decision at that time. I looked over all the schools and decided Arkansas would be the best school for me. They play in a great conference. The SEC has a lot of good teams.”
Ockimey was selected to the coaches’ All-Catholic League team. He received first-team honors for his all-around play this season.
“It’s an honor to be on the team,” he said. “We have some good players throughout the Catholic League. I’ve played baseball with a lot of these guys over the years. I’ve known them for a long time. I really appreciate them picking for the All Catholic League team.”
Baseball has been in the Ockimey family for years. His father, Michael Ockimey was a terrific baseball player for legendary manager Stan Hill who coached a lot of great baseball players in Darby.
Josh has a twin brother Michael Ockimey who plays football at Bonner-Prendie.
“He can’t wait until football season,” he said. “Michael plays wide receiver and strong sfatey. He’s doing well. We keep in touch all the time.”