Big Ten

Spartans' Tom Izzo elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

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Spartans' Tom Izzo elected to Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

Tom Izzo might just be the best coach in Big Ten basketball history. And now his place in basketball history has been firmly cemented.

The Michigan State head coach was named Monday as one of the members of the Class of 2016 for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

“I’ve always told my players that they need to dream something before they can achieve it,” Izzo said in the school's announcement. “Growing up in Iron Mountain, I had plenty of dreams, many of them seemed like long shots. But I’d be lying if I said being in the Hall of Fame was one of those dreams — it seemed too big. Even today, it’s surreal.

“As a coach, you can’t accomplish anything without the help of others. While I’m the one being recognized by the Hall of Fame, it’s only because of the work, support and advice from so many people that have touched both my life and my career. From the guidance and love of my family and friends, to the instruction and advice from my teachers and mentors, to the hard work and accomplishments of my coaches and players, and the great support from my administration, they’ve all made the ‘undreamable’ a reality.”

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Izzo has spent the past 21 seasons as the head coach at Michigan State, leading the Spartans to a national championship in 2000 and a total of seven Final Four appearances, the fifth most all-time. He's taken the Spartans to 19 consecutive NCAA tournament, the fourth-longest streak ever, and he ranks eighth all-time with 46 NCAA tournament wins.

Izzo is the second-winningest coach in Big Ten history, his 246 conference wins trailing just Indiana legend Bob Knight. Under Izzo, Michigan State has won seven regular-season conference championships and five Big Ten Tournament titles. Earlier this season, Izzo became the eighth coach to win 500 games in his first 21 seasons and now has 524 career victories.

“As a roommate and friend of Tom Izzo since the early 1980s, I have always admired and respected Coach’s ability to care and fight for people and issues beyond his area of responsibility,” Michigan State athletics director Mark Hollis said in the announcement. “He is passionate about the game of basketball, higher education and the people that commit their lives to the ideals of these pursuits. His attention to detail, concern about right and wrong, and the importance of personal accountability of everyone contribute to his success. With humility as his athletic director, emotion as his friend, and pride as a Spartan, I appreciate the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in recognizing Tom’s contributions to the game.”

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.