With Terrence Shannon Jr. Making a Comeback, Can an Inoculated Illinois Make It to the Final Four?

Published 01/23/2024, 9:59 AM EST

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Illinois basketball has made a strong comeback since the return of their star player. The team has surprised everyone with their recent performance. However, it suffered a major setback when Terrence Shannon Jr. was suspended due to certain legal protocols. Shannon Jr. has 21.7 points on average and 4 rebounds per game.

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The gun player’s injury seemed like it would be hard for Illinois to recover from, especially since half of the season was already over. However, the team continued to play with the same level of determination, even after their losses. Now that Shannon is back, the team is brimming with confidence as the ovation for their alpha is loud enough.

Can Illinois make it to the final four with its star player?

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Illinois will be tough for the opposition to beat. Seeing how this squad asserts itself during away games will be intriguing to watch. With his balling prowess, Terrence has shown immense promise.

It is up to Shannon to step up his game and maintain his status as the team’s alpha now that he is back. The only thing left to worry about is whether they can continue to give their best in every circumstance to secure their spot in the final four.

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The absence of Shannon had the untold advantage that Illinois only needed to survive against all odds, and now that he’s back, they’re again pushed under a strict regimen of practices as they are highly anticipated to make it to the final four.

With the absence of Shannon, the key player was Hawkins, who showcased some interesting gameplay as he scored a whopping 15 points against Michigan State. His caliber in both offense and defensive areas is noteworthy, and he has been in the limelight and looked upon. But the return of the standout could relive some of Hawkins’s burden.

On the other hand, there are quite a few possibilities that it could turn into a power nexus in scoring, which might be a great add-on as two players on the same team compete to score, which eventually increases the age of play unless and until the team coordination remains the same with multiple facets of possibilities to elevate their game. The return of Shannon makes a strong case for Illinois to make it to the Final Four, as they have proven their worth even in his absence.

With Terrence Shannon Jr. Facing Charges, How’ve Illinois Dealt With Their Star’s Absence?

What happened to Terrence Shannon, Jr.?

A federal court on Friday overturned the suspension of Terrence Shannon Jr., the standout basketball player for Illinois. The 23-year-old is qualified to play again for the Fighting Illini on Sunday, where he demonstrated his star prowess after the suspension.

Terrence was charged with a criminal offense concerning an alleged event that happened in Kansas on September 8 of last year, and as a result, the No. 14 Illinois team banned him from all team activities on December 28. Shannon requested an injunction against the school’s trustees earlier this month. He was suspended from the squad, according to the protocols but a federal judge named Judge Colleen issued a judgment that suspension violates the basic rights of the player.

His lawyer argued that the suspension could damage his reputation and prevent him from signing NIL deals, potentially harming his future prospects, and then his suspension was lifted on Friday. His reception on the court was mixed with ovations and criticism. “Our team feels whole again. We have our best player back,” said his teammate in a post-game presser as he delivered an immaculate performance of 16 points, leading his team to the victory of 86-63 against Rutgers.

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Terrence Shannon’s basketball career

2019 marked the beginning of Shannon’s career at Texas Tech. During his first season, he had a big break as he was named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team. Shannon has had a stellar display for the Red Raiders, where he played in 83 games for 3 seasons, scoring 915 points, grabbing 299 rebounds, and making 120 assists.

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In 2021, he became a member of the Big 12’s third team. He then moved to Illinois in 2022, and during his debut season, he was named to the Big Ten First Team. In the 2023–24 season, Shannon was suspended, but before that happened, he had remarkable stats on his resume, averaging 21.7 points, 2.5 assists, and 4.5 rebounds per game.

But all is not well, as he has his hearing in February, and the result is very crucial for his basketball future. Guilty or not, this incident is definitely a turning point that put him in a position to carry his team to the Final Four in order to repair the image of his public reputation. And with loads of confidence, the probability of making the final four is very high.

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Written by:

Nima Murugan

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“Basketball isn’t an act of jumping jacks, it’s a sport mirroring life through assists and rebounds”. Before becoming an NBA writer at EssentiallySports, I was drawn to the world of basketball when 'The Chosen One' first started locking horns with 'His Airness' over the GOAT debate. Some discourses shape your imagination and rightly so.
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Edited by:

Bilal Handoo

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