Big Ten

Spike Albrecht announces end to Michigan career

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Spike Albrecht announces end to Michigan career

Citing the need to dedicate more time to recovering from offseason hip surgery, Michigan senior guard Spike Albrecht announced the end of his college basketball career on Friday.

"This has been the toughest decision I have ever had to make," Albrecht said in the announcement. "After taking a hard look at what is best for me and this team, I will be stepping away from the game that has meant so much to me.

"I am so thankful for what coach (John) Beilein, the assistants and the medical staff have done for me during my career and in particular over the last year while I was dealing with this injury. I just have a little more to go, and I really need to take the proper time to finish my rehab.

"The University of Michigan has provided me and my family so much, I don't really even have the words to express my gratitude. This place is truly special, and I hope I was able to leave just a little bit of a mark during my career. I cannot thank Wolverine nation enough for all the love and support they have shown me throughout my four years here. Forever and always — Go Blue!"

[MORE BIG TEN: Hawkeyes blow 20-point lead, lose to Iowa State in final seconds]

Albrecht — a native of Crown Point, Ind. — appeared in 115 games over four seasons at Michigan. He played in every game during the Wolverines' run to the national championship game in 2013, including a 17-point performance in the national title game, where Michigan fell to Louisville. He appeared in every game during his sophomore season, as well, when the Wolverines won the Big Ten regular-season championship and came a miracle Kentucky 3-pointer away from reaching a second straight Final Four.

He was huge last season, earning the team's co-MVP honors while its stars missed significant time with injuries. Albrecht averaged 32 minutes a game last year, averaging 7.5 points a game and 3.9 assists a game.

Albrecht had bilateral hip surgery this offseason and has seen limited minutes during Michigan's first nine games of the season, logging double-digit minutes in just four of those games. He played only three minutes in Michigan's loss to Southern Methodist on Tuesday.

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

"This has been an agonizing decision for Spike, especially at this juncture of the season," Beilein said in the announcement. "He has done so much to get back to this point, but his long-term health is what is most important now and in the future. We want only the best for Spike.

"He is a tremendous young man, who has had a very special career. His important role in our 2013 NCAA tournament run and his incredible performance in the national title game were straight out of a storybook. His sophomore year, we would not have won the Big Ten title or made a second straight trip in the Elite Eight without him.

"He has proven time and time again what heart and determination can do. Even last year, he played through so much pain, but held the team together and guided us through tough times."

Northwestern running back Jeremy Larkin diagnosed with cervical stenosis, will retire immediately

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USA TODAY

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

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USA TODAY

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.