Illinois freshman center in critical condition

After just having watched Illinois play at Assembly Hall three days ago, it feels a little closer to home than it otherwise would have to hear that one of the Illini players is in critical condition today following a car accident last night. Let’s hope Brian Carlwell turns out to be OK.

Here’s the lastest we have from the AP on this story:

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Two Illinois basketball players were injured when their car struck a tree and one was in critical condition Tuesday.

Brian Carlwell, a 6-foot-11 freshman center, was in critical condition at an Urbana hospital, according to Carle Foundation Hospital spokeswoman Debra Inman. He had a severe concussion, Illinois sports information director Kent Brown said.

Jamar Smith, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard, was treated and released from the hospital. He suffered a concussion, Brown said.

Smith, 19, was driving the car late Monday night when it crossed the center line and struck a tree, according to University of Illinois police Sgt. Vanessa Horsman.

Smith was cited for improper lane usage, Brown said, and campus police say further action is possible depending on the outcome of the investigation.

“The accident is still under investigation,” Horsman told The (Champaign) News Gazette. “We’re trying to determine why he crossed the street and struck a tree.”

Illinois coach Bruce Weber spent the night in the hospital with Carlwell.

“We just hope and pray Brian is going to be OK,” Weber said.

Smith averages 8.1 points per game for the Illini. Carlwell, 19, averages 1.7 points and 1.4 rebounds per game.