Big Ten

Illini fill point guard vacancy with La Salle transfer Khalid Lewis

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Illini fill point guard vacancy with La Salle transfer Khalid Lewis

Tracy Abrams' second straight season-ending injury left a giant hole on the Illini basketball roster. And while that hole might not be able to be completely filled by anyone, John Groce added a veteran point guard on Saturday night.

La Salle transfer Khalid Lewis committed to Illinois on Saturday. He'll be immediately eligible as a graduate transfer.

Lewis posted on his Instagram page Saturday night: "It's a wrap. Headed to (the University of Illinois) for my last year. Time to go out with a bang!"

[MORE BIG TEN: Northwestern names Tre Demps, Alex Olah, Sanjay Lumpkin captains]

Lewis averaged six points per game for the Explorers last season to go along with 2.2 assists per game and two rebounds per game in 27.5 minutes per game. He shot 37.4 percent from the field and 32.8 percent from 3-point range.

Lewis might not be able to take over the same role Abrams was expected to hold for the Illini this season, acting as the starting point guard and as a senior leader for a team short on veteran leadership. But Lewis does bring experience and could allow Jaylon Tate to better ease into the starting point guard role. Last season, Tate was thrust into the starting lineup and struggled as Abrams missed the season with a torn ACL. Lewis started 18 of 33 games for La Salle last season.

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.