Big Ten

Buckeyes D'Angelo Russell makes jump to NBA Draft

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Buckeyes D'Angelo Russell makes jump to NBA Draft

D'Angelo Russell took a while to make his decision, but in the end it was the decision everyone expected him to make.

Russell announced via an interview with ESPN.com on Wednesday that he is declaring for this summer's NBA Draft, foregoing the rest of his eligibility following a fabulous freshman season at Ohio State.

"This was a hard decision because I knew I could come back and play with my teammates who I love, and to be coached by coach Thad Matta again would have been awesome, but at the same time I wanted to pursue my dream of playing in the NBA," Russell told ESPN.com's Paul Biancardi. "I know what I am capable of, and the sky's the limit with effort. I know I have a lot to work on."

Russell was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year this past season, arguably the best player in the conference not named Frank Kaminsky. In 35 games with the Buckeyes, the Louisville native averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and five assists per game. He scored 25 or more points in seven different games, including a 28-point performance in a Round of 32 NCAA tournament win over VCU. He scored more than 30 points twice, led the conference in made 3-pointers and finished second in the Big Ten in scoring, third in assists, sixth in steals, seventh in minutes played, 10th in 3-point percentage and 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio.

Russell was named to the All-Big Ten First Team and the All-American First Team.

[MORE BIG TEN: Check out Big Ten/Big East matchups in Gavitt Tipoff Games]

Russell, who splashed home 3-pointers with ease, had no trouble getting to the rim and wowed with dazzling passes through the lane, is expected to be one of the first players off the board in June's draft.

He's obviously drawing plenty of pro interest, including famously from Knicks president Phil Jackson, who faced a fine for speaking to a reporter about Russell after taking in an Ohio State game.

Russell, though he might not want to be perceived as such, joins the ranks of college basketball's one-and-dones.

"You never know when this opportunity comes," Russell told ESPN.com. "I believe I am ready because my approach was to unpack my bags, get committed to winning and listening to the coaches — as opposed to coming in and saying 'I am a pro' and trying to leave. I wasn't trying to get in and out at Ohio State."

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.