Big Ten

Illini's Malcolm Hill invited to USA Basketball training camp

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Illini's Malcolm Hill invited to USA Basketball training camp

Malcolm Hill could end up having a pretty interesting summer.

The Illini junior-to-be was named one of 22 players selected for USA Basketball's training camp ahead of the Pan American Games. Hill is one of 16 college players and one of five current Big Ten players invited to the camp, joining Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes, Michigan State's Denzel Valentine, Maryland's Melo Trimble and Purdue's Isaac Haas.

Of the 22 invited to the camp in Colorado Springs, just 12 will make the team, which will compete from July 21 through July 25 in the Pan American Games tournament in Toronto.

It's a big opportunity for all these guys, and John Groce should be particularly happy with the experience it could provide for Hill, should he make the final roster.

[MORE BIG TEN: Illini alum Rayvonte Rice to join Bulls in NBA summer league]

Hill had a strong junior year, ranking second on the team in scoring with an average of 14.4 points per game and third in rebounding with 4.8 rebounds per game. He had a huge 20-point performance during the non-conference season in a game against Villanova at Madison Square Garden. Hill scored a season-high 28 points in a win over Maryland and poured in 27 against Penn State. During the Big Ten regular season, he ranked 10th in the league in scoring with 15.1 points per game.

He was particularly prolific during Rayvonte Rice's nine-game absence, averaging 17.7 points per game as he was forced to take over as more of a primary scorer. Hill, along with fellow junior-to-be Kendrick Nunn, will have that primary-scorer role this fall.

It could be a Big Ten-dominated roster. Hayes and Valentine are coming off trips to the Final Four, while Trimble was one of the most impressive freshmen in the country, earning All-Big Ten First Team honors while helping Maryland to a second-place finish in its first season in the conference.

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.