Big Ten

Draymond Green gives $3.1 million to Spartans basketball program

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Draymond Green gives $3.1 million to Spartans basketball program

Draymond Green, fresh off a NBA championship win, is giving back to his alma mater.

Green and Michigan State announced Thursday that the former Spartan made a $3.1 million contribution to the basketball program.

The gift is the largest by a former Michigan State student-athlete, surpassing the $3 million donated by Magic Johnson a few years back.

"Michigan State means everything to me," Green said in the announcement. "I grew up in Saginaw and was lucky enough to attend Michigan State University where coach (Tom) Izzo believed in me and gave me the chance to succeed. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without my Spartan experience, and this donation reflects my deep appreciation to the university. This donation isn’t just about me. I want more kids to have the opportunities I had thanks to Michigan State and want to use this to stimulate all Spartans to give back to the best university in the world."

[MORE BIG TEN: Michigan guard Zak Irvin to miss six to eight weeks after back procedure]

With the donation, the Spartans' weight room at the Breslin Center will be named the Draymond Green Strength and Conditioning Center, and a portion of the gift will fund an endowment for the basketball program.

“I’m so proud of Draymond," Izzo said. "From his time as a student-athlete, he was always thinking of people other than himself — that’s part of the reason he was so successful.

“I believe it’s only fitting that his name be on the weight room. He would be the first to admit that he was out of shape when he stepped on campus as a freshman. But through extraordinary commitment and effort, he transformed himself into a national player of the year. By walking into the Draymond Green Strength and Conditioning Center, our student-athletes are going to be reminded each day of his story and how, if they make the commitment to excellence, they too can live their dreams here at MSU.”

Green is the Spartans' all-time leading rebounder and is one of three Michigan State players to total 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.

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.