Big Ten

Darius Paul apologizes following dismissal from Illini


Darius Paul apologizes following dismissal from Illini

Darius Paul was dismissed from the Illinois basketball team last week after being arrested in France while the team was on a European trip. Tuesday he released the following statement, apologizing for his actions.

“After two years with Illinois, my main goals were to proudly wear the orange and blue jersey, play high-level basketball and be a good citizen. But my actions and decisions played out differently. I apologize to my family, coaches, teammates and the entire Illini Nation. I let my teammates down — who only believed in me through all of this. We were a family. I apologize to the coaches who begged me to stay on the right path and gave me a second chance to succeed. I apologize to the athletic department for not keeping promises that I made, and I apologize to the Illini nation for not being able to contribute to the long, historic run of Illinois basketball greatness.

“Finally, I just want to say that I am really sorry to my family. I put my family through a lot, and I hope they will see a day where I am back making positive decisions that will help my family and not hurt them. I am truly sorry and hope my family and everyone who affiliates themselves with (the University of Illinois) will forgive me for my actions.

“It is my hope that the entire Illini Nation will have a great future. Go Illini!”

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini announce 'Lou Henson Court' for hoops at State Farm Center]

Paul, a Gurnee native and Warren Township High School product, had multiple moments of poor decision making since transferring to Illinois from Western Michigan after the 2012-13 season. After sitting out the 2013-14 season per NCAA transfer rules, he was arrested in the spring of 2014, earning a season-long suspension for the 2014-15 season. He played junior-college basketball in Texas last season before rejoining the Illini this offseason. But he was arrested on charges of public intoxication, vandalism and resisting arrest earlier this month while the team was in France. He was suspended indefinitely and immediately sent home from the trip. When the Illini returned, Paul was dismissed from the team. He never played in a game for the Illini.

Tuesday's statement was released through Paul's family. He is the younger brother of former Illini guard Brandon Paul, one of the most prolific scorers in program history.

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.