Big Ten

Illini sophomore Leron Black arrested after allegedly pulling knife


Illini sophomore Leron Black arrested after allegedly pulling knife

In a season of nothing but bad news for Illinois basketball, more bad news has arrived.

Leron Black, a sophomore big man who's spent nearly the entire season out of action with a knee injury, was arrested Thursday for aggravated assault, allegedly pulling a knife on a club bouncer, according to the Champaign News-Gazette.

Head basketball coach John Groce announced an indefinite suspension for Black on Friday morning.

From the News Gazette's Mary Schenk:

(University of Illinois Police Lt. Tom) Geis said the security guard told police that Black and others were inside the club and that security was trying to remove people when “Black became very belligerent and hostile toward the security guard,” Geis said.

“(Black) yelled ‘I don’t have a strap but I’m not afraid to cut somebody,’” Geis said. “Then the security guard said he pulled the knife, opened it and put it within one to two inches of his nose.”

According to the News-Gazette, Black is scheduled to appear in court Friday afternoon and will be charged with aggravated assault, a Class 4 felony.

Black has appeared in just seven games this season, hampered by the after effects of preseason surgery to repair a torn meniscus. Along with Mike Thorne Jr. and Tracy Abrams, Black is one of three projected Illini starters who have missed the majority if not the entirety of the season.

This is the second arrest of an Illinois player since the end of last season. Darius Paul, who returned to the Illini via transfer after he suspended for the entire 2014-15 season because of a different arrest, was arrested and charged with vandalism, public intoxication and resisting arrest in France during the team's summer European trip. When the Illini returned to the United States, Groce dismissed Paul from the program.

It's unsure what fate awaits Black regarding his status with the team. Black was a solid contributor as a freshman a season ago, starting 10 games and averaging five points and 4.3 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game over 33 games.

This is just the latest in a nightmarish two seasons for Groce and the Illinois basketball program, which has dealt with an onslaught of injuries to key players, missed out on top-flight recruits and dealt with multiple off-the-court issues. Combined with the play on the court, wins haven't been in ample supply, and this season looks to be the third straight without an NCAA tournament appearance.

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.

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Northwestern set to play Wisconsin at Wrigley Field in 2020

Weeks will separate a perfect 10-year anniversary where Northwestern will play at Wrigley Field for one of its regular season games in the upcoming years.

Back on Nov. 20, 2010, the Wildcats battled it out with Illinois, known as the “Wrigleyville Classic,” which saw the Illini take a 48-27 win.

Even though it’s still two years out, Northwestern still planned ahead and announced its opponent for its game at Wrigley Field on Nov. 7, 2020, against Big Ten rival Wisconsin.

“Obviously an exciting opportunity for our football program to come back to Wrigley Field, one of the Cathedrals of sporting venues in the world,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “When I announced it to our team, they were absolutely ecstatic.”

“The opportunity to play at Wrigley field is unique to us, being Chicago’s Big Ten team, and to have the chance to come down and play in an atmosphere like we did a few years back was a bowl game type atmosphere, and I look forward to this special opportunity.”

This game though will be a little different than it was back in 2010. Both the Wildcats and Illini played toward the west end zone due to a tight squeeze near the right field wall due to box seats that were added down the third base line.

Now, Northwestern and Wisconsin do not have to worry about that problem because the bullpens have since moved to the outfield.

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney spoke at a news conference earlier on Tuesday at Wrigley.

“So excited to welcome back Northwestern to Wrigley Field to talk about football again,” Kenney said. “We had an incredible experience with them back in 2010."

Kenney also mentioned new seating is on a temporary platform that can all be removed and the dugout tops can be removed as well, and the field will expand west, to allow for a longer field.

With a sellout crowd in the last go around for the Wildcats, don’t be surprised for another sellout at the Friendly Confines.