Big Ten

Spartans' Tom Izzo named Hall of Fame finalist


Spartans' Tom Izzo named Hall of Fame finalist

Tom Izzo could soon be a Hall of Famer.

The Michigan State head basketball coach was named one of 14 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday.

“Being mentioned in the same breath as some of the finalists, not to mention the current members of the Hall of Fame, is incredibly humbling,” Izzo said in the announcement. “Never in my wildest dreams growing up in Iron Mountain did I imagine ever being named a Hall of Fame finalist. I’m appreciative of the selection committee even considering me. I tell my players all the time to achieve success they must dream it first, but I’d be lying if I said this was something I ever dreamed.

“As a coach, you can’t achieve success without the help of so many people. Today’s announcement gives me reason to stop and reflect on all the people who have helped me along the way. From the players and the coaches, to my mentors and everyone along my journey from Iron Mountain to Northern Michigan to Ishpeming High School and finally to Michigan State, my home for the last 33 years, they’ve all played a giant part in my success, and needless to say, I wouldn’t be here without them.”

[SHOP BIG TEN: Get your Spartans gear right here]

Izzo is in his 21st season as the Spartans' head coach. During that tenure he's led Michigan State to a remarkable seven Final Fours, including a national championship in 2000. Izzo has led the Spartans to seven regular-season Big Ten titles and four Big Ten Tournament championships. He's taken the Spartans to 18 consecutive NCAA tournaments and earned national coach of the year honors eight times.

Izzo is the second all-time winningest coach at a Big Ten school, passing legendary Purdue head coach Gene Keady earlier this season. Only Indiana's Bob Knight has won more games at a conference institution.

Among those joining Izzo as a finalist for the Class of 2016 is longtime Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan, who was a first-time finalist last year. Ryan retired earlier this season in the middle of his 15th year in Madison.

The 2016 class of Hall of Fame inductees will be announced at the Final Four in April.

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.