For the fourth straight season, the Big Ten Player of the Year was selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.
The Bulls made Michigan State star Denzel Valentine the No. 14 pick in Thursday night's draft, Valentine joining Frank Kaminsky, Nik Stauskas and Trey Burke as recent conference players of the year to go in the first round.
Valentine also made it three straight drafts with a Spartan selected. Branden Dawson was picked in the second round last year after both Gary Harris and Adreian Payne were selected in the first round in 2014.
Valentine was sensational last season as the Spartans' senior leader. Early in the season, he registered a triple-double in the Champions Classic against Kansas, becoming just the fourth Michigan State player to do so, joining Magic Johnson, Charlie Bell and Draymond Green. Valentine averaged 19.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game, leading the Spartans to a Big Ten Tournament championship. His college career came to a crashing end, however, when Michigan State was upset by Middle Tennessee State in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
Valentine showed his ability as a scorer but wowed with a more all-around game. He excelled at running Michigan State's offense and made countless highlight-reel passes. That might have intrigued the Bulls, who dealt starting point guard Derrick Rose to the Knicks on Wednesday.
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 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.