Big Ten

Northwestern announces addition of Joey van Zegeren


Northwestern announces addition of Joey van Zegeren

Though initially reported back in February, Northwestern made the addition of Virginia Tech transfer Joey van Zegeren official on Monday.

The addition is a big one for the Cats, who can use van Zegeren's experience as an NCAA big man in a major conference. He's a 6-foot-10 native of the Netherlands and spent the past four seasons with the Hokies, going up against stiff competition in the ACC.

Suspended indefinitely before conference play began last season, he was no longer with the team by the end of January. But van Zegeren did graduate and earn his degree, meaning he's immediately eligible to suit up for Chris Collins this fall.

"We're really excited to add someone of Joey's caliber to our program," Collins said in the team's announcement. "He brings four years of ACC experience, and he's a veteran guy on the front line who has been very accomplished at a high level. He'll bring great athleticism, physicality and size, but most importantly experience to our team as we head into next season.”

[MORE BIG TEN: Ex-Flyin' Illini Stephen Bardo voices frustration on Twitter]

In 31 games as a redshirt sophomore in 2013-14, van Zegeren averaged 6.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game in 22 minutes per game. In 13 games last season, he averaged 9.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.

It's a boost to the Cats' big-man corps, which consisted mainly of seven-footer Alex Olah. Backup center Jeremiah Kreisberg moved on after his lone season as a graduate student, leaving soon-to-be-sophomore Gavin Skelly, at 6-foot-8, the tallest returning player.

Northwestern will also welcome in 6-foot-8 freshman recruit Derek Pardon, who's listed as a center on his Rivals page.

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.