Big Ten

Illini reportedly in the mix for high-profile transfers Charlie Moore and Carlton Bragg Jr.

Illini reportedly in the mix for high-profile transfers Charlie Moore and Carlton Bragg Jr.

After losing two members of what was a top-15 recruiting class, Illinois could finally be getting some good news on the roster-construction front.

According to reports, a pair of high-profile transfers, Cal point guard Charlie Moore and Kansas big man Carlton Bragg Jr., could both wind up with the Illini.

Illinois was described as a likely landing spot for Moore, while Bragg has the Illini in his final five choices.

Both players would have to sit out the 2017-18 season, new head coach Brad Underwood's first, per NCAA transfer rules. But both would have multiple years of eligibility remaining after that, good news for the orange and blue should either or both decide to continue their collegiate careers in Champaign.

Moore, a Chicago native and Morgan Park product, was ranked by Rivals as the No. 55 recruit in the Class of 2016. He picked Cal over Illinois and plenty of other offers, and as a true freshman last season he started 34 games and averaged 12.2 points and 3.5 assists per game.

Last week Moore announced he was transferring from Cal to be close to home and his ailing father.

Bragg, a 6-foot-10 big man from Cleveland, was the No. 21 recruit in the Class of 2015, per Rivals. Bragg also had an offer from Illinois but opted to play for Bill Self instead.

Bragg didn't see too much time as a reserve in Lawrence, averaging 13.8 minutes a game as a sophomore this past season. He put up 5.2 points and 4.1 rebounds a game.

The Illini could use an influx of players of any kind after both Jeremiah Tilmon and Javon Pickett requested releases from their National Letters of Intent in the wake of the school's coaching change.

With those two incoming freshmen believed to be headed elsewhere and the departures of five graduating players from last season's team, Illinois is down to just nine scholarship players for 2017-18: seven returning players — D.J. Williams, Kipper Nichols, Te'Jon Lucas, Jalen Coleman-Lands, Leron Black, Aaron Jordan and Michael Finke — and two incoming freshmen — Da'Monte Williams and Trent Frazier.

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.