Big Ten

Caleb Swanigan returning to Purdue for sophomore season

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Caleb Swanigan returning to Purdue for sophomore season

Purdue has experienced a decent amount of turnover this offseason, but one key piece from last season's squad will be back in the fold for 2016-17.

Caleb Swanigan announced Wednesday that he will return to the Boilermakers for his sophomore season, withdrawing from the NBA Draft.

"The NBA is right there and always will be, but you always have to have patience and do what’s best for you," Swanigan said in the team's announcement.

Swanigan is one of many underclassmen who have taken advantage of new rules allowing them to declare for the draft without hiring an agent and participate in team workouts while still being able to return to school with their NCAA eligibility intact.

The process is undoubtedly beneficial to players, who were able to gather more information about their pro potential but still take time they need to develop and better prepare themselves for the NBA at the college level.

"We are excited that Biggie has withdrawn from the NBA Draft and will return to Purdue," Boilermakers head coach Matt Painter said in the announcement. "He has the potential to make a huge jump from his freshman season and will be a big part of what we do next year. He received great experience going through this process and will use the feedback he received to make him a more diverse player."

Swanigan's return is a big boost for Purdue's chances in the upcoming campaign. As a freshman last season, the big man averaged 10.2 points and 8.3 rebounds a game, earning a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.

Swanigan joins Vince Edwards in withdrawing from the draft and returning to West Lafayette, giving the Boilers back three-fifths of their starting five from a season ago (P.J. Thompson being the other) as well as other impact players such as Isaac Haas and Ryan Cline. Plus the team added former Michigan point guard Spike Albrecht as a grad transfer this offseason. Purdue should go into the 2016-17 campaign as one of the favorites in the Big Ten.

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.