Big Ten

Michigan star Caris LeVert officially out for remainder of season


Michigan star Caris LeVert officially out for remainder of season

One of the more exciting players in the Big Ten will have a season end early for the second straight year. And now his collegiate career is over, as well.

Caris LeVert, Michigan's senior guard and unanimously considered its best player, will officially be out for the remainder of the season as he focuses on getting healthy, the Wolverines announced Tuesday. LeVert has played in just one game since injuring himself in the Big Ten opener against Illinois way back on Dec. 30, playing just 11 minutes in a Feb. 13 meeting with Purdue.

"After some prayer and talking it over with my family, coach (John) Beilein and the medical staff, we all feel it is best for me to concentrate on getting fully healthy," LeVert said in the announcement. "There is still some discomfort that does not allow me to help this team the way I want.

"I am so thankful for what coach Beilein, the assistants and the medical staff have done for me during my collegiate career and in particular while I have dealt with these injuries.

"U-M has provided me the chance to live my dream of playing college basketball and to earn a Michigan degree. There are really no words to express my gratitude for that as well as my love for all my teammates. I am so blessed to be part of this wonderful university and will forever represent the maize and blue."

[MORE BIG TEN: Da'Monte Williams follows in footsteps of father Frank, commits to Illini]

LeVert's career has been dominated by injuries. He missed the final 14 games of last season after breaking his foot and had his second foot surgery in as many years. This season, he entered the year healthy with big expectations to be one of the conference's best players. LeVert averaged 16.5 points per game in the games he did play in, but he's missed a total of 15 games following a lower left leg injury against Illinois.

"This has been a tough two months for Caris," Beilein said in the announcement. "He has worked so hard to get back to this point, and Caris' long-term health is what is most important.

"Caris has been a pleasure to coach; he is a wonderful young man with a brilliant future. I am confident he will have a very successful professional career because his talent, attitude, quickness and versatility make every team better.

"He has always carried himself and handled these situations with such class and a level of maturity that is unmatched. This is not how he wanted to finish his career here; however, we know he can hold his head high for how he has represented this great university and our basketball program."

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Michigan gear right here]

LeVert ranks in the top 50 on Michigan's all-time scoring list with 1,070 career points in 103 career games. He was a freshman on the Wolverines team that finished national runner up in 2013, and he appeared in every game during his sophomore season, when the Wolverines came within a basket of reaching back-to-back Final Fours. He was an All-Big Ten pick in that 2014 season.

LeVert is the second Michigan senior to miss the remainder of the 2015-16 campaign to focus on getting healthy. Spike Albrecht, after dealing with multiple surgeries, announced he would miss his senior season prior to the start of the schedule.

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.