Shannon withdraws from NBA draft, announces return to Illinois for 2023-24 season


James Hoeck

Guard Terrence Shannon Jr. gives directions to the rest of the team to make a play against Michigan on Mar. 2. On Wednesday, Shannon announced that he would return to Champaign for one more season.

By James Kim, Sports Editor

He’s back.

Senior guard Terrence Shannon Jr. announced on Wednesday that he will be withdrawing his name from the NBA draft to return to Illinois for his final season in Champaign, per his Twitter. The 2023-24 season will serve as the veteran’s final year of college eligibility.

The announcement comes as a tremendous boost for the Illini, who now have a crucial piece of last season’s team back for round two. Shannon’s decision to transfer to Illinois from Texas Tech before the start of the 2022-23 season made headlines around the country. After three seasons with the Red Raiders, the Chicago native arrived in Champaign and immediately made an impact.

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Starting 29 of 30 games this past season, Shannon was a staple for the Illini and spearheaded the young, new-look squad alongside fellow veteran Matthew Mayer. A lot of Illinois’ big wins flowed through the 6-foot 6-inch guard. Amongst the highlights were Shannon’s career-high 30-point showing against Monmouth, his 29 points to lead the team past No. 8 UCLA, his monster overtime performance to down No. 2 Texas and his return from injury against Northwestern to pull Illinois out of an 18-point deficit.

Offering size, an explosive drive to the rim and sharp defensive IQ, Shannon’s influence on the court cannot be understated. He ranked sixth in the Big Ten in scoring as well as second in both free throws made and attempted. Over the course of the year Shannon also showcased his skill from beyond the arc. The veteran guard nailed eight triples against the Bruins to tie the Illini program record for most made three-pointers in a single game.

Needless to say, Shannon enjoyed a strong first season with Illinois, averaging 17.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. The senior guard was also awarded with first-team All-Big Ten honors, a selection on The Athletic Midseason All-Transfer Team and was a Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award Top Ten Candidate.

After his strongest year of college basketball yet, the NBA was a realistic option with multiple mock drafts projecting Shannon to go in the second round. However, the Chicago native has unfinished business in Champaign after back-to-back first-round exits in both the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments. Another year playing for the Illini will also only continue to boost the senior’s draft stock. With Shannon continuing to improve each season, his return for the 2023-24 season could be what Illinois needs to get over the hump next March.



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