Big Ten

Hoosiers' James Blackmon Jr. has offseason knee surgery


Hoosiers' James Blackmon Jr. has offseason knee surgery

James Blackmon might be a little slow to get going in his follow up to a terrific freshman year as he recovers from knee surgery this offseason.

Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel reported Tuesday that Blackmon had surgery to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his left knee and will be out until September. Blackmon is expected to recover in six to eight weeks and be back to full strength before the start of October practice.

“It was a tough setback for James and all of us, but in the scheme of things relatively minor in the way that it has all been handled,” Indiana head coach Tom Crean told Thamel. “He had a great spring and was in the midst of having an even better summer.”

[MORE BIG TEN: Spartans' Valentine, Terps' Trimble picked for USA Basketball roster]

Blackmon was great last season, earning Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors after averaging 15.7 points per game, eighth in the conference and second on the team behind Yogi Ferrell. He made 77 3-pointers on the season, tied for sixth in the Big Ten, and ranked eighth in the conference with an 80.6 free-throw percentage.

Blackmon opted to return to the Hoosiers for the upcoming season rather than make the jump to the NBA.

Indiana is expected to be one of the better teams in the conference and the country next season, welcoming back Blackmon, Ferrell, Troy Williams, Robert Johnson and Nick Zeisloft, the team's five leading scorers from a year ago, as well as adding freshmen Thomas Bryant, Juwan Morgan and O.G. Anunoby.

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.