Big Ten

Crean after latest off-court issues: Hoosiers' leadership has been 'less than poor'


Crean after latest off-court issues: Hoosiers' leadership has been 'less than poor'

Criticism of Indiana head basketball coach Tom Crean of late has had more to do with off-the-court issues than the Hoosiers' recent results on the court.

Legal issues keep cropping up for Indiana players, the most recent coming earlier this week, when Emmitt Holt and Thomas Bryant were cited for underage possession of alcohol.

It's the latest in a string of incidents dating back to spring of 2014, when Hanner Mosquera-Perea was arrested for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Later in 2014, Yogi Ferrell and Stanford Robinson were cited for minor consumption and possession of false identification. Last fall, Holt, who had been drinking, was driving a car that struck and severely injured teammate Devin Davis. Holt was suspended four games, and Robinson and Troy Williams were also suspended four games for failing drug tests. Earlier this year, Perea and Davis were dismissed from the team after an incident involving marijuana.

With the punishments for the latest incident involving Holt and Bryant yet to be handed down, Crean addressed reporters at an event Thursday in Indianapolis, taking responsibility for his team's behavior but also lamenting the lack of leadership among his players.

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“We’ve got to get everybody to understand — it doesn’t matter who it is, it doesn’t matter this situation, the entire team — we’ve got to get a team of guys to understand (that) ultimately they are playing ‘for' Indiana and not ‘at’ Indiana," Crean said. A video of his comments was published by the Indianapolis Star. "There’s a lot that goes into the basketball responsibility, the academic responsibility, the social responsibility. And really where we sit right now, as much as anything else, is a leadership responsibility they’ve got to have with one another. I’d love to sugarcoat it for you — and I’m responsible for this, ultimately I’m responsible — but our internal team leadership has been less than poor for the last two years.

"When situations like this happen, much like any other time, it might be isolated to a couple people when it comes to what happens, but it’s a team-wide thing when it comes to understanding where you’re at. And we’ve struggled with that, we’ve struggled with that for the last couple years."

As these incidents continue to occur with great frequency, the external criticism of Crean increases as well.

Despite delivering 20-win campaigns in three of the past four seasons, Crean has yet to get the Hoosiers past the Sweet Sixteen in his seven seasons at the helm of Indiana, just three have which have featured NCAA tournament appearances.

Combine the off-the-court stuff with the on-the-court stuff, and Crean's supporters are increasingly difficult to count.

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


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


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.