Arizona Athletics

Philly Special: City of Brotherly Love bearing down

Developments in the Philadelphia sports world today could fill a Tucson sportscast on the evening news.

Scott Kingery.

T.J. McConnell.

Nick Foles.

Arizona Wildcats.

Philly Special.

If Arizona had a hockey program, a former Wildcat would certainly be showcased on the Philadelphia Flyers’ roster. That’s how this feels.

Scott Kingery, Nick Foles and T.J. McConnell are former Arizona standouts who are gaining fame in Philadelphia.

Kingery, McConnell and Foles emerged as fan favorites at Arizona this decade. They are now the same in Philly.

They have similar backgrounds of coming out of nowhere to becoming household names not only in Philly but nationally.

Kingery walked on at Arizona in 2013, and after three seasons, he became the Pac-12 Player of the Year in 2015.

Also in 2015, McConnell went undrafted before signing with the Sixers. He is an NBA Sixth Man of the Year candidate in his third NBA season. Another former Arizona guard, Jerryd Bayless, is a teammate of McConnell’s with Philly.

Foles, Arizona’s most prolific passer in history during his career between 2009-11, contemplated leaving football after the Rams waived him two years ago. Kansas City and then Philadelphia gave him another shot, and Foles took advantage of the opportunity, emerging as the Super Bowl MVP for the Eagles in February.

This is no joke: Last week while talking to a Philadelphia sports fan at a bar in Las Vegas, we got to talking about the Wildcat phenomenon in the City of Brother Love. Guess what song came on in the bar? The Rocky theme.

No, Rocky Balboa did not attend Arizona.

What is it about Philadelphia and the Arizona Wildcats recently?

Brainstorming, the only similar feel with multiple former Arizona players reaching the height of a career with different pro teams from a particular city occurred in 2004.

In 2004, the Boston Red Sox ended an 86-year World Series drought behind manager Terry Francona (an Arizona All-American) and the New England Patriots won their third Super Bowl title with Arizona star Tedy Bruschi at linebacker.

Too bad the Boston Celtics did not have a former Arizona player at that time.

Kingery’s start to his major-league career with the Phillies has included this week his first hit, home run, grand slam and put-out at home with a throw from left field. He is the 16th Phillie to hit a grand slam for his first or second career homer, and he joins Chase Utley and Nick Williams as the only ones to do it since 1998. “Pretty cool,” is how he described the grand slam.

McConnell’s role has been minimized lately with the return of rookie point guard Markelle Fultz from injury. McConnell still figures to be an important reserve in the playoffs for Philadelphia, which ended the regular season tonight with its franchise-record 16th consecutive victory. McConnell had 16 points in the Sixers’ 130-95 drubbing of Milwaukee.

“I’m not going to cry over spilled milk,” McConnell told reporters about fewer minutes playing behind Ben Simmons and Fultz. “Markelle and Ben are special players and they need to be out there for us to win. I’ve just got to stay ready. If my number’s called, I’ve just got to go out there and be a pro and help this team win.”

It was announced today that Foles will release a book on his unlikely Super Bowl success — achieved after replacing injured starter Carson Wentz with less than a month left in the regular seson. His memoir titled, “Believe It: My Journey of Success, Failure and Overcoming the Odds,” will be available for purchase June 26.

“I really didn’t expect to be writing a book at this point in my life,” Foles said through a press release, “but I’m excited about the opportunity to tell my story and share my faith. Ever since the Super Bowl, people have been wanting to hear about how we got there and what it was like, which is a big part of the story, but I also want to be transparent about the struggles I’ve gone through in my life and my career.”

Fitting that Foles wrote a book (with writer Joshua Cooley), not only because he had a storybook end to last season.

Arizona’s presence in the Philadelphia sports scene is storybook material of its own.

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