Big Ten

Hinsdale South center Barret Benson picks Northwestern


Hinsdale South center Barret Benson picks Northwestern

Chris Collins scored another big-time Chicago-area recruit Monday.

Barret Benson, a four-star prospect out of Hinsdale South, announced his commitment to Northwestern on Monday night.

[MORE BIG TEN: Big Ten leads college basketball in attendance ... again]

Benson, a Willowbrook native, is 6-foot-9 and 245 pounds, a center ranked by Rivals as the 108th best player in the Class of 2016.

Benson was highly sought after by several Big Ten schools. He picked the Cats over offers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Penn State and Purdue.

It's another great local get for Collins & Co. after landing four-star Vic Law out of St. Rita and three-star Scottie Lindsey out of Fenwick in the Class of 2014, three-star Jordan Ash out of St. Joseph's in the Class of 2015 and Benson and three-star Rapolas Ivanauskas out of Barrington in the Class of 2016.

Though just 29-36 in his first two seasons as the Cats' head coach, Collins has created a ton of buzz for the future by landing some of the highest-rated recruits the program has ever seen.

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini announce five non-conference games to be played in Springfield]

The Northwestern basketball program was understandably excited:

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.