Big Ten

Illini's Jalen Coleman-Lands 'progressing back to basketball activities'


Illini's Jalen Coleman-Lands 'progressing back to basketball activities'

The status of hyped Illinois freshman Jalen Coleman-Lands has been a mystery for some time now, but head coach John Groce offered an update on Wednesday.

"Following Jalen Coleman-Lands' latest evaluation by team physicians, he will begin the process of progressing back to basketball activities," Groce said in an announcement released by the Illini basketball program's Twitter account. "There is no specific timetable for his return. We look forward to him returning to the court once fully healthy."

Groce announced in late July that Coleman-Lands was out indefinitely with a stress fracture in his left leg. The injury sidelined Coleman-Lands, keeping him out of practice and keeping him off the court during the team's European trip last month.

A lack of an update had some worried the injury could be a very serious one. But this is positive news for the Illini, what with their top incoming recruit beginning his road to recovery.

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini finally land point guard recruit in Te'Jon Lucas]

While the lack of a timetable for a return means it's possible Coleman-Lands could miss some significant time, it doesn't seem that he will miss the entirety of his freshman season.

It's been a turbulent offseason for the Illini, who lost senior point guard Tracy Abrams to a torn Achilles' tendon, his second season-ending injury in a row. The team also lost transfer big man Darius Paul, who was dismissed from the program following an arrest during that aforementioned European trip.

Coleman-Lands was Groce's top recruit in a highly touted Class of 2015, ranked the No. 39 player in the nation by Rivals. Many who evaluate recruiting pegged Coleman-Lands as Groce's top recruit since arriving in Champaign.

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.