Big Ten

Illini announce 'Lou Henson Court' for hoops at State Farm Center


Illini announce 'Lou Henson Court' for hoops at State Farm Center

The Illini made it official Monday, announcing that the court at the State Farm Center will be named in honor of the program's all-time winningest coach, Lou Henson.

A new logo will be placed on the court at the soon-to-be-renovated State Farm Center in Champaign for all men's and women's basketball games. The logo, signifying that games are played on "Lou Henson Court," consists of the legendary coach's signature, his trademark orange blazer and a set of wings to represent Henson's Flyin' Illini team that went to the Final Four in 1989.

Henson coached the Illini for 21 seasons from 1975 to 1996, winning 423 games including 213 Big Ten contests. He took the Illini to eight straight NCAA tournaments from 1983 to 1990, including a trip to the 1989 Final Four, one of five Final Four appearances in program history.

"The University of Illinois is extremely honored to recognize one of our most iconic figures with the naming of Lou Henson Court," Illinois athletics director Mike Thomas said in the announcement. "Lou has made an incredible impact and contribution to Fighting Illini basketball and the university. One of the most humble individuals you could ever know, Lou and Mary are recognized wherever they are at and treat everyone they meet with great respect. The current renovation project at State Farm Center would probably not be possible if not for the success led by coach Henson here at Illinois. This is a fitting tribute to one of the all-time great coaches and people to be associated with Illinois."

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Henson will be inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in November, shortly before the first game is to be played on Lou Henson Court at a fully renovated State Farm Center on Dec. 2.

The Illini released a picture of what the court will look like with the logo on it:

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini fill point guard vacancy with La Salle transfer Khalid Lewis]

Henson, Thomas, head men's basketball coach John Groce and head women's basketball coach Matt Bollant were all in attendance Monday in Champaign for the announcement, all sporting orange blazers.

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.