Philadelphia’s breakout sports stars of 2013

Michael Carter-Williams
Michael Carter-Williams is just one of the breakout Philly athletes of 2013.
Credit: Getty Images

The bad news for Philadelphia sports in 2013 was the number of teams struggling to put together winning seasons.

But what that meant was a lot of young talent emerging, not just on the city scene, but also on the national stage.

Of course, we also got four new coaches — some who’ve gotten off to better starts than others.

Metro breaks down the athletes who broke on the scene in 2013 and will continue to star going forward.

Nick Foles

Everyone knows the perfect quarterback to run Chip Kelly’s spread-option offense is Mike Vick. Right?

Maybe not.

Nick Foles emerged on the scene due to necessity — Vick was injured, again — and wrestled away the job. He has 25 touchdowns and two interceptions through 16 games. I’d say he can run that Oregon option offense plenty good enough.

Jack McInerney

We go outside the big four sports for the No. 7 overall pick in the 2010 MLS Draft.

It took a few years, but Jack McInerney finally broke out in 2013 as a forward to be reckoned with. The 21-year-old striker had 12 goals in 31 games for the Union — eighth-best in the league this season. He also had five game-winning goals — tied for third in the MLS. And oddly, he actually suffered a frustrating drought during the best season of his professional career.

The Union had a disappointing finish, but McInerney gives fans reason for optimism. It also won’t be long before he is playing on the U.S. National team.

LeSean McCoy

OK, so we all knew LeSean McCoy was good. But this good?

Shady went from fantasy star to national stud with the best season of his career in 2013. Even before the final game, he’s basically got the rushing title — the first of his career — locked up.

He leads the NFL with 1,476 rushing yards (98.4 yards per game), which is a full 189 yards ahead of second-place Jamaal Charles. But of course he won’t be taking this week off with a playoff spot on the line against Dallas. You can bet the Cowboys’ game plan has stopping McCoy as No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 on their list. Peyton Manning will probably win the MVP this year, but McCoy is definitely in the mix.

Claude Giroux

The Flyers had a miserable 2012-13 (technically only 2013) season, but it wasn’t Claude Giroux’s fault.

The Flyers captain led the team in scoring with 48 points (13 goals) in 48 games and is doing the same this season. He has 31 (nine goals) points in 36 games so far this season.

Besides, who can say no to that toothless grin he has?

Chip Kelly

No list of sports stars in Philadelphia this year would be complete without Chip Kelly.

While the Sixers and Flyers struggle under new leadership, Kelly is the toast of the town.

The transition from Oregon to the NFL wasn’t always easy, and the critics let him hear it, but he has a team that finished 4-12 last season on the cusp of the playoffs.

Domonic Brown

The Phillies went another season without making the playoffs, but they did finally get the breakout they expected from their top prospect.

Domonic Brown tore up the first half of the baseball season en route to an appearance in his first All-Star Game at Citi Field in July. He put up a .273 batting average with 23 home runs, 67 RBIs and 47 runs scored in a tremendous first half, even though his team was one game under .500 (47-48).

If only his second half had lived up to his first — maybe in 2014.

Michael Carter-Williams

The bane of headline-writers’ existence exploded on the scene in Game 1 for the 76ers and — except for two brief injury timeouts — hasn’t looked back since.

The rookie from Syracuse, taken No. 11 overall in the 2013 NBA Draft, had an epic stat line (22 points, 12 assists, nine steals and seven rebounds) in the season opener against the defending-champion Heat. He posted his first career triple-double (27 points, 10 assists and 12 rebounds) against Orlando on Dec. 3.

Carter-Williams didn’t get the memo the Sixers are supposed to be tanking for Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker, even if the rest of the team did.

The rookie is already No. 1 among newcomers in jersey sales and No. 15 overall. That’s not bad for a player barely in the lottery, and the second player taken by the Sixers behind the injured Nerlens Noel.

Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports.


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