Big Ten

Report: Illini trying to woo Morgan Park's Charlie Moore to Champaign


Report: Illini trying to woo Morgan Park's Charlie Moore to Champaign

Illinois could still add a big name to its 2016 recruiting class.

According to a Tuesday report from Illini Inquirer, the Illini are pursuing Charlie Moore, the Morgan Park point guard and the state's Mr. Basketball who decommitted from Memphis earlier this month.

Per the report, Illinois head coach John Groce and assistant coach Paris Parham met with Moore last week and have "full intentions" of bringing Moore to Champaign.

Moore initially picked Memphis over an offer from Illinois as well as offers from California, DePaul, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Mississippi, Pittsburgh, St. John's and VCU. But he decommitted from the Tigers earlier this month after Memphis head coach Josh Pastner split for the head-coaching job at Georgia Tech.

Moore averaged 28 points, seven assists and five steals per game during his senior season at Morgan Park.

Groce already has a point guard signed up for the Class of 2016 in Milwaukee native Te'Jon Lucas, who was considered a recruiting success for Groce after plenty of high-profile misses at the point guard position. Lucas, though, fractured his foot after falling during a high school game that was ironically played in Champaign with Groce watching.

The sell then would be convincing Moore to join a team that already has a young point guard on board.

"It's just been normal conversations. They want to see me. They've been telling me how it's going to be with me and Te'Jon," Moore told Illini Inquirer's Derek Piper. "If we both come, we'll both be running the point. It'd be like a three-guard combination, and that's something they're trying to do. That's pretty big in college basketball now, and it can help win championships. So they've been talking to me about that and me being close to home."

The Illini could certainly use all the help they can get at the point guard position. Tracy Abrams will be back after missing each of the last two seasons with season-ending injuries suffered during the offseason. But players who have filled in during Abrams' absences the past two years have proven less than capable.

Illinois is facing a ton of roster uncertainty this offseason. Three players — Leron Black, Kendrick Nunn and Jaylon Tate — are serving indefinite suspensions while dealing with legal situations. The team is waiting to hear on the status of Mike Thorne Jr. and whether the NCAA will allow him to play after missing much of the 2015-16 season with an injury.

Surely, though, landing Moore would be a massive deal not just for next season but for the program in general. Moore is currently ranked as the No. 57 recruit in the country and would be the first Illinois Mr. Basketball recruited to Champaign by Groce. It would be an enormous success for Groce, who has struggled to bring in the state's top talent and is facing questions about his future amid three straight seasons without an NCAA tournament appearance and the legal situations involving his players.

Competition, though, will be plentiful. Moore told Illini Inquirer that California, Central Florida, DePaul, Georgia Tech, Iowa, LSU, Memphis, Miami, Missouri, Northwestern, SMU, Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky have all reached out or otherwise been in the mix.

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.