Big Ten

Darius Paul suspended indefinitely, sent home from Illini trip


Darius Paul suspended indefinitely, sent home from Illini trip

Darius Paul has again been suspended by John Groce, and the junior forward's status with the team will be "evaluated."

Groce announced Saturday morning that Paul has been suspended indefinitely and has been sent home from the team's ongoing European trip.

"Darius has been suspended indefinitely after violating team rules during our trip," Groce said in Saturday's announcement. "We have specific standards of behavior for every member of our team, and when those expectations are not met, there are consequences. Darius is returning home immediately, and we will evaluate his status with the team following our return to Champaign."

[MORE BIG TEN: Is Badgers' Bo Ryan reconsidering retiring after 2015-16 season?]

This is the second time Groce has suspended Paul, the younger brother of former Illini guard Brandon Paul.

Paul transferred to Illinois following the 2012-13 season, when he was the MAC Freshman of the Year at Western Michigan. While sitting out the 2013-14 season per NCAA transfer rules, Paul failed a pair of drug tests and was arrested in April 2014. Groce suspended Paul for the following season, and Paul left Illinois to play Lamar State-Port Arthur, a junior college in Texas. He returned to the Illini this offseason.

Paul, who was on the European trip but not playing due to injury, figured to play a prominent role for the Illini this season. The 6-foot-8 forward is one of the Illini's biggest players, and they need someone to step up in the size-and-rebounding department following the graduation of Nnanna Egwu.

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.