Big Ten

Illini dismiss Kendrick Nunn from basketball program

Illini dismiss Kendrick Nunn from basketball program

Kendrick Nunn is no longer a member of the Illinois basketball team.

Illinois athletics director Josh Whitman and head basketball coach John Groce released a joint statement Tuesday afternoon announcing that Nunn, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery last week, has been dismissed from the program.

"We have made the decision to dismiss Kendrick Nunn from the men's basketball team, effective immediately. We have not reached this decision easily; we care deeply about Kendrick and want him to be successful. But after extensive deliberation, we think it best for our program to reaffirm our core values of trust and respect, to send a strong message about what is acceptable behavior for our student-athletes at the University of Illinois and to part ways with Kendrick. As it is on college campuses across the country, relationship violence is of significant concern at our university, and we expect Fighting Illini student-athletes to be leaders in promoting healthy, respectful, caring relationships. We wish Kendrick all the best as he prepares for the next chapter of his life."

Nunn was arrested on charges of domestic battery in March shortly after the Illini's season came to an end. He initially faced two counts of domestic battery, though those charges were reduced to one count of misdemeanor battery, which Nunn pleaded guilty to last week, admitting that he hit a woman in the head. He was sentenced to 18 months of court supervision, 100 hours of community service, enrollment in a partner abuse intervention program, a written letter of apology and a $200 fine. He will receive no conviction on his record if he does all those things.

Nunn, a Chicago native and Simeon High School product, was one of Illinois' top players. Last season as a junior, he averaged 15.5 points per game, which ranked 12th in the Big Ten. He also ranked among the conference leaders in steals and made 3-pointers.

But despite Nunn's value to the team, Whitman — who has still been on the job only a few months — opted to make a bold statement about the culture of an athletics department that has received a lot of negative attention in recent years.

Nunn was one of three Illinois players arrested since February.

Junior forward Leron Black was arrested after pulling a knife on a nightclub bouncer, and he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor version of the original charge and entered a second-chance program, completing 20 hours of public service and paying a $200 fine in addition to receiving a sentence of 12 months of conditional discharge. Black was suspended for two exhibition games and the first four regular-season games of the upcoming campaign.

Senior guard Jaylon Tate was arrested and charged with domestic battery in March. Those charges were dismissed last week, and Tate was reinstated from an indefinite suspension.

Nunn is the second player dismissed from the Illinois program in a calendar year. Last summer, Darius Paul was dismissed after he was arrested during the team's European trip.

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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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.