Big Ten

Where will Big Ten players be selected in the NBA Draft?

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Where will Big Ten players be selected in the NBA Draft?

The NBA Draft is Thursday night, and just a few hours before the fun starts, where should we expect Big Ten products to be selected?

Well, we don't have access to a functioning crystal ball, nor do we have a Charles Xavier type to peer into the minds of NBA general managers. So, we'll have to resort to mock drafts from around the Internet.

So here's a look at a few mock drafts and where they have Big Ten players going. We peaked at DraftExpress.com's latest mock draft, as well as those from Rotoworld's Jonas Nader and Ed Isaacson and our own Vincent Goodwill and Mark Strotman.

The consensus seems to be that we should expect to hear the commissioner call the names of a couple Spartans early on, with Deyonta Davis and Denzel Valentine almost universally predicted to be picked in the first round. DraftExpress has Davis going the highest, at No. 10 to the Bucks, and Nader, Isaacson and Goodwill all have him going either at No. 11 to the Magic or No. 12 to the Hawks. Strotman has Davis going a little lower, at No. 18 to the Pistons. As for Valentine, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year, he's predicted to go a little later than Davis, with our esteemed quintet tabbing him at No. 12 (Jazz), No. 19 (Nuggets), No. 20 (Pacers), No. 21 (Hawks) and No. 22 (Hornets). Wouldn't it be something if he went to Charlotte and teamed with former Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky, putting the last two Big Ten Players of the Year on the same NBA team?

As for non-Spartans, Maryland big man Diamond Stone was the only other Big Ten product who popped up as a first-round pick on more than one of these mock drafts. DraftExpress and Nader both had Stone going to the Warriors at pick No. 30.

Only one other Big Ten name appeared as a first-rounder in any of these mocks: Michigan's Caris LeVert, with Goodwill projecting the former Wolverine would go at No. 25 to the Clippers.

Two of these mocks included second-round projections (DraftExpress and Isaacson). DraftExpress has four Big Ten players going in the second round: Purdue's A.J. Hammons at No. 45 to the Celtics, Maryland's Robert Carter at No. 47 to the Magic, LeVert at No. 49 to the Pistons and Maryland's Jake Layman at No. 52 to the Jazz. Isaacson has a whopping six Big Ten products going in his second round prediction: Stone at No. 31 to the Celtics, LeVert at No. 35 to the Celtics, Indiana's Yogi Ferrell at No. 38 to the Bucks, Hammons at No. 39 to the Pelicans, Carter at No. 51 to the Celtics and Layman at No. 57 to the Grizzlies.

We won't know what happens until it happens, of course, but at least this is a little guide of what you can expect.

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.