Big Ten

Diamond Stone leaves Terps for NBA, Melo Trimble to test draft process

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Diamond Stone leaves Terps for NBA, Melo Trimble to test draft process

It's going to be a very different-looking Maryland basketball team next season.

The school announced Monday that freshman center Diamond Stone has declared for the NBA Draft and plans to hire an agent and that sophomore point guard Melo Trimble will enter his name into the NBA Draft but not hire an agent.

Stone's decision means his time at Maryland is done, while the possibility exists that Trimble can return with his two remaining years of NCAA eligibility intact. New rules allow players to enter their names into the draft without hiring an agent, which means they can attend NBA team workouts and the NBA Draft Combine before needing to make a final decision by May 25. Trimble can gain knowledge and receive feedback about his readiness, standing and pro prospects and still choose to return to the Terps. By hiring an agent, Stone will forfeit his remaining NCAA eligibility.

What's certain at the moment is that Stone will not be back, making it four starters from this year's team that will not be back next season. Robert Carter Jr. made the same decision as Stone last week, while Jake Layman and Rasheed Sulaimon exhausted their eligibility this season. If Trimble also opts to leave for the professional ranks, it means a brand-new starting five for Mark Turgeon next season.

Stone — projected by many to be a one and done when he signed up to play at Maryland ahead of this season — is expected to have plenty of suitors in the draft after averaging 12.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game this season. DraftExpress.com has him as the No. 23 pick in its most recent mock draft.

"I want to thank the University of Maryland and coach Turgeon for an unbelievable experience this past year,” Stone said in the announcement. "Coach Turgeon really pushed me to get better each and every day. My family and I spent a great deal of time discussing my future, and we felt this was the best decision as I pursue my dream of playing professional basketball. I want to also thank all of the Terp fans and the students on campus who have been very supportive since the day I arrived to College Park. It means a great deal to me. I’ll always be a Terp for life.”

“When we first met with Diamond and his family, one of our goals was to help him achieve his dream of playing in the NBA,” Turgeon said in the announcement. “Diamond has always been a very skilled and talented offensive player, but he worked hard in other facets of his game this past year. He has vastly improved his strength and conditioning and has made strides defensively. This will be beneficial as Diamond pursues a career in professional basketball. We are happy for Diamond and wish both him and his family the very best.”

Trimble has landed on the All-Big Ten First Time in each of his seasons at Maryland. He surprised by returning to school for this past season after dazzling as one of the top freshmen in the country a season ago. This year his scoring and shooting numbers were down — averaging 14.4 points per game and shooting 41.4 percent from the field and 33.5 percent from 3-point range this season after averaging 16.3 points per game and shooting 43.8 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range in 2014-15 — though he improved in other areas. DraftExpress.com has him as the No. 35 pick in its latest mock draft.

“I am looking forward to taking advantage of this opportunity and entering my name in the NBA Draft,” Trimble said in the announcement. “I am excited that the new rules allow me the chance to go through this process.”

“Melo will go through the draft process, which will provide him a stronger understanding of where he could potentially be selected,” Turgeon said in the announcement. “Melo has worked very hard, and we will continue to support and guide him throughout this process.”

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.