Big Ten

Hornets make Badgers' Frank Kaminsky the No. 9 pick of NBA Draft

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Hornets make Badgers' Frank Kaminsky the No. 9 pick of NBA Draft

Once an unheralded recruit, Frank Kaminsky blossomed into the best player in college basketball. And now he's a first-round NBA Draft pick.

Michael Jordan's Charlotte Hornets used the No. 9 pick in the draft to make Kaminsky, a Lisle native and Benet Academy alum, the highest-selected Wisconsin Badger in more than 10 years. Only three Wisconsin players have ever been picked higher than Kaminsky. Devin Harris was the most recent, the No. 5 overall pick in 2004.

Kaminsky was the brightest star in college hoops last season, mixing skill and personality to become a rock star. He won every national player of the year award under the sun, was tabbed as the Big Ten's Player of the Year and led his Badgers to the second of two consecutive Final Four appearances. He averaged 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game last season.

Kaminsky wowed on the offensive end of the floor with an unending series of post moves and a deadly accurate 3-point shot. He scored 25 points or more in six games this past season.

[MORE BIG TEN: NCAA proposes allowing NBA Draft declarers to return to school]

Kaminsky, who really broke out nationally with a terrific NCAA tournament in 2014, was again superb come March Madness this past season. He scored 27 points in a Round of 64 win over Coastal Carolina and followed that up with 16 points against Oregon and 19 points against North Carolina. He then had a huge 29-point effort in Wisconsin's Elite Eight win over Arizona and scored 20 points in the Final Four victory over Kentucky. And even in a loss to Duke in the national title game, he scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds.

Kaminsky is the fourth Badger selected during the Bo Ryan Era at Wisconsin. He was preceded by Harris in 2004, Alando Tucker in 2007 and Jon Leuer in 2011. Kaminsky's teammate, Sam Dekker, became the fifth with the No. 18 pick in Thursday's draft.

After their selections, Ryan made this statement.

“This is a very proud moment for the University of Wisconsin basketball program to have two guys go in the first round. That is special,” Ryan said. “And who knows, we may have some other guys that maybe didn’t go in the first round but still might end up playing at the highest level. I wouldn’t be surprised. But I’m very proud of Frank and Sam, and I’m sure everyone else takes the same pride in their accomplishments and now they’ve been rewarded professionally.”

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.