Big Ten

Kendall Stephens exploring transfer from Purdue

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Kendall Stephens exploring transfer from Purdue

Kendall Stephens is exploring a transfer from Purdue, but his days with the Boilermakers aren't necessarily over.

Purdue head coach Matt Painter announced Thursday that he granted Stephens' request to be released from his scholarship so the senior-to-be could explore the possibility of a transfer.

Painter made a point of saying, though, that Stephens is still a member of the team and that he can return to the program.

“Kendall has asked for his release to explore the possibility of transferring, but he remains a member of our team and the door remains open for his return,” Painter said. “Right now, he is weighing his options.”

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Stephens — a St. Charles native and St. Charles East High School product — saw limited action this past season, taking a leave of absence during conference play after one of his childhood friends died. He appeared in just 24 of the team's 35 games. He played in just four of Purdue's final 15 games, scoring just three points during that span.

Stephens averaged 6.1 points per game after 8.7 points per game and eight points per game in the two seasons prior, respectively.

Purdue could have a very different looking group next season. A.J. Hammons, Rapheal Davis and Johnny Hill are all departing seniors, and Caleb Swanigan is testing the waters in regards to potentially entering his name into consideration for the NBA Draft. Stephens' potential departure would only add to that new-look team.

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.