Big Ten

Deyonta Davis leaves for NBA Draft after one year with Spartans

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Deyonta Davis leaves for NBA Draft after one year with Spartans

One-and-dones are a rarity at Michigan State, but Deyonta Davis is one after declaring for the NBA Draft on Tuesday.

The Spartans' freshman big man is heading to the pros and will hire an agent, the school announced Tuesday, meaning Davis' days in green and white are done.

Rather than take advantage of new rules allowing players to test the process out by attending NBA team workouts and the NBA Draft Combine before making a final decision by May 25 — having the option to return to school with NCAA eligibility intact — Davis is deciding his stock is high enough to bring an end to his NCAA eligibility after just one season in the college ranks.

“I asked coach (Tom) Izzo and (high school coach Keith) Guy to do research for me. The information that came back made me decide to enter the draft," Davis said in the announcement. "It was a tough decision, but after talking to my family and coaches, I felt it was the right decision and one I’m fully committed to. I’d like to thank all of the people that helped me this year — my teammates and coaches, the academic support staff and especially the fans that welcomed me with open arms. Because of their help, I’m in position to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing in the NBA. This has been a great year for me at Michigan State — including a memorable trip to Italy, being a part of the best start in school history and winning the Big Ten Tournament. I will always be a Spartan and look forward to coming back to campus like so many other pros do now.”

Davis averaged 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game during his freshman season. He came on strong at the end of the year, starting 16 of the team's final 17 games. Davis' 29.8-percent field-goal percentage was second in the Big Ten, and his 1.8 blocks per game were good for third in the conference. He scored in double figures in 12 games this season, grabbing 11 rebounds in four different games. He recorded a season-high six blocks in a win over Northwestern.

“As a coach, my job is to help my players grow both on and off the basketball court. Over the last year, Deyonta has improved as a player, as he is just starting to tap his true potential," Izzo said in the announcement. "Off the court, there is no question that he has grown by leaps and bounds as he matures as a young man. I’ve been fortunate to live my dreams, but the real thrill as a coach is getting to see my players live their dreams. I look forward to following Deyonta’s development and career in the NBA for years to come.”

Davis does have a pretty high draft stock, with DraftExpress.com projecting him as the No. 13 pick in its latest mock draft.

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

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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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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.