Headlined by the selection of the Big Ten Player of the Year with the final pick in the lottery, six Big Ten players were selected in Thursday night's NBA Draft.
Denzel Valentine, who led Michigan State to a Big Ten Tournament championship in his senior year with the Spartans, went to the Bulls with the 14th pick, the highest Spartan selected since Jason Richardson was a top-five pick in 2001. Valentine was the fifth Michigan State product picked in the last five years and the third first-round pick in the last three years.
Surprisingly, Michigan guard Caris LeVert was the next Big Ten'er off the board, picked by the Indiana Pacers with the No. 20 selection and then shipped to the Brooklyn Nets. LeVert's status in the draft was unknown given injuries that limited him to 18 and 14 games in each of the past two seasons, respectively.
Many expected Valentine's teammate Deyonta Davis to be selected in the lottery, but the one-and-done big man shockingly fell out of the first round, selected by the Boston Celtics with the No. 31 pick before getting traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Though not as big of a surprise as Davis' slip, Maryland's Diamond Stone also went undrafted in the first round. The big man was chosen by the New Orleans Pelicans with the No. 40 pick before going to the Pacers, becoming the second Terp drafted during the Mark Turgeon Era.
Purdue seven-footer A.J. Hammons, the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, went to the Dallas Mavericks with the No. 46 pick.
Stone's teammate Jake Layman was picked by the Orlando Magic and traded to the Portland Trail Blazers with the No. 47 pick.
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 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.