Big Ten

Darius Paul dismissed from Illini in wake of European trip arrest

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Darius Paul dismissed from Illini in wake of European trip arrest

About a week after Darius Paul was arrested in France and sent home from the Illini's European trip, Paul has been dismissed from the team.

Head coach John Groce announced Paul's dismissal Friday night, about a week after saying that Paul's status with the program would be evaluated when the Illini returned home.

"After further review of the situation, Darius has been dismissed from our team," Groce said in the announcement. "Although his playing days here are over, we are committed to helping him move forward."

Paul was reportedly arrested in France and charged with vandalism, public intoxication and resisting arrest. Due to an injury, Paul was not playing in games on the trip.

[MORE BIG TEN: Report: Illini hire group of former Big 12 commish Dan Beebe]

Paul's arrest last weekend followed his arrest in spring 2014, for which he was suspended for the entirety of the 2014-15 season. He played at a junior college in Texas before rejoining the Illini this offseason.

Paul, a Gurnee native and Warren Township High School product, originally transferred to Illinois following the 2012-13 season, during which he was the MAC Freshman of the Year for his efforts at Western Michigan. He sat out the 2013-14 season per NCAA transfer rules.

The loss of Paul is the second unexpected loss of a key player for the Illini this offseason. Starting point guard Tracy Abrams tore his Achilles earlier this summer, knocking him out for the second straight season. Paul was expected to play a big role in the Illinois frontcourt this season.

Paul is the younger brother of former Illini star Brandon Paul. The younger Paul spent two seasons preparing to play for the Illini, though after this latest incident, he will have never played a game in orange and blue.

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.