Big Ten

Nicholas Baer earns scholarship with Hawkeyes


Nicholas Baer earns scholarship with Hawkeyes

After being the most productive member of Iowa's seven-member freshman class last season, Nicholas Baer is now a scholarship player for the Hawkeyes.

The school announced Thursday that the former walk-on has earned a scholarship after a season in which he was an important bench contributor.

"When we invited Nicholas to walk-on two years ago, I had a strong suspicion that this day would come," Iowa head coach Fran McCaffery said in the announcement. "I didn't give him a scholarship, he earned one, and that's the greatest compliment that you can give to him. He just wanted a chance and felt like he would take it from there, and he did.

"He really worked hard his redshirt year to figure out what he needed to do to be successful at this level. Nicholas was a terrific player for us in a lot of different ways this past season. He impacts the game with his energy, basketball instincts, shooting, rebounding, defense, and he doesn't make mistakes. He's everything you want on the floor, especially with the way we play. I'm excited about having him in our program for the next three years."

Baer's averages of 4.8 points per game and 2.6 rebounds per game might not jump off the stat sheet, but he was one of just six players on the team to appear in all 33 games (four of the other five were seniors), he ranked seventh on the team in minutes per game (five of the six players ahead of him were starters) and he ranked second on the team with 19 blocks.

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Baer scored in double figures five times this season, including an 11-point performance against then-No. 1 Michigan State in the Big Ten opener and a 15-point effort in Iowa's final game of the season, an NCAA tournament loss to eventual national champion Villanova.

"I am so thankful that coach McCaffery gave me the opportunity to walk-on. He gave me a jersey, gave me a chance to prove myself," Baer said in the announcement. "It has always been a goal of mine to achieve a scholarship and I'm thankful that I have achieved that goal, but more so I'm thankful for all of my teammates who have pushed me to make me a better player and the support I've received from Hawkeye fans."

Baer figures to have an expanded role next season. Four of Iowa's five starters were seniors this season and are moving on from their college careers, and junior starter Peter Jok is testing the NBA Draft process, though his return to Iowa City is certainly still possible. Regardless, it will be a different-looking group of Hawkeyes in 2016-17.

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.