Maryland's Melo Trimble and Wisconsin's Nigel Hayes are in Chicago this week for the NBA Draft Combine. But they might be heading back to College Park and Madison real soon.
According to a tweet from ESPN's Jeff Goodman, people from around the NBA think the two Big Ten stars would be better served going back for another year of college hoops than trying their luck in next month's NBA Draft.
Thankfully for Trimble and Hayes, who might not be impressing NBA teams on the West Side, new rules allow them to return to their respective schools with their NCAA eligibility intact. It's part of the sure-to-be beneficial new process that allows underclassmen to declare without hiring an agent, participate in the Combine and team workouts and still go back to school after finding out far more information than they would have under the old process.
Both players had strong seasons a year ago, each leading their teams to the Sweet Sixteen, but that's not to say both guys were perfect despite their All-Big Ten seasons.
Trimble displayed better ball-distribution skills and better defense than he did in his spectacular freshman campaign but saw his scoring and shooting numbers plummet. Meanwhile, Hayes was inconsistent at the start of the season, part of the reason the Badgers limped out of the gate. But his performance was also part of why Wisconsin turned on the jets during Big Ten play and stormed back to an NCAA tournament lock.
The return of both players would surely be a boost to their respective teams. If Trimble returns to Maryland, he'd be the lone starter back from a squad that made the program's first Sweet Sixteen since 2003. If Hayes comes back to Wisconsin, it would mean Greg Gard would return all five starters and practically the entire roster in his first full season as head coach.
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.