Big Ten

Austin Colbert no longer with Illini, will transfer

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Austin Colbert no longer with Illini, will transfer

Illinois forward Austin Colbert is no longer with the program and will transfer, head coach John Groce announced Wednesday.

Colbert, who just finished his sophomore season with the Illini, made visible progress as last year progressed and gained playing time off the bench as the season marched on. He played in 25 games, averaging 1.7 points and 2.2 rebounds.

“After meeting with Austin, he and I agree that it is in his best interest to pursue a fresh start and continue his education and basketball career at another institution,” Groce said in the announcement. “We are appreciative of the effort Austin gave during his time at Illinois, and we will fully support him and his family throughout the transfer process.”

[MORE BIG TEN: Penn State hoopster Ross Travis declares for NFL Draft]

“I’ve enjoyed my two years here and leave with a lot of great memories,” Colbert said in the announcement. “I want to thank my teammates, coaches, fans and the Orange Krush for all their support.”

Colbert will transfer once he completes his classes at the end of the semester, according to Groce's announcement. His departure is another loss for an already somewhat-shaky Illinois front court, which also loses Nnanna Egwu to graduation.

Colbert is the second player to leave the program since the beginning of 2015 for a reason other than exhaustion of eligibility. Guard Aaron Cosby, who had previously transferred in from Seton Hall, "parted ways" with the program in February. Cosby, along with Rayvonte Rice, was suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation of team rules. Rice had his suspension lifted and returned to the team. Cosby was still suspended when it was announced he was leaving the program.

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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USA TODAY

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

Tough news out of Evanston this morning: Northwestern announced that running back Jeremy Larkin will retire immediately after being diagnosed with cervical stenosis.

Cervical stenois is the narrowing of the spinal canal in one's neck, according to Mayo Clinic. Larkin's condition is thankfully not life-threatening, though it does prevent him from continuing to participate in the game of football. 

"Football has been a lifelong passion and it has been a process to reconcile the fact I won't be on that field again, given I've played this game since I was five years old," Larkin said.

"I'm extremely appreciative of the Northwestern sports medicine and athletic training staffs for uncovering this condition, and for my coaches and the medical staff for always putting my health first.

"I came to this University to engage at the absolute highest level on the field and in the classroom, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue one of those while supporting my teammates from the sideline." 

Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald called the news "heartbreaking."

"This is heartbreaking because I see every day how much Jeremy loves the game, loves his teammates, and loves to compete," Fitzgerald said in a statement. "But this is the absolute best possible outcome for him.

"The discovery of this condition allowed Jeremy and his family to make an informed decision for his long-term health and well-being. For those of us who have known Jeremy Larkin since his high school days, his future is exceptionally bright. I can't wait to see the impact he makes in our world."

Larkin is a sophomore from Cincinnati. He finishes his Northwestern career with 156 carries for 849 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

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USA TODAY

Former Illini champion Kevin Anderson upsets Roger Federer in Wimbledon quarterfinal

Former University of Illinois tennis star Kevin Anderson completed a marathon upset against an all-time great on the highest stage of professional tennis.

Anderson came back from two sets down to beat Roger Federer in Wimbledon’s quarterfinals 2-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-4, 13-11 on Wednesday morning. He will play in the semifinals of the tournament for the first time in his career.

As a native of South Africa, Anderson played three seasons with the Fighting Illini and won the NCAA doubles championship during the 2005-06 season as a sophomore. The 32-year-old was a three-time All-American in singles at Illinois.

Now, as the eighth ranked singles player on the ATP World Tour, Anderson is a force to be reckoned with at the professional level. He made it all the way to the US Open final in 2017.

The former Illini star will look to keep his recent success going when he represents Illinois in the semifinals of Wimbledon this Friday.