4. Illinois goes as Terrence Shannon Jr. goes
Illinois basketball has had very few players who put up big numbers and the team still wins a lot of games. Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn are the two latest examples. You then have to go back to, maybe, Dee Brown in 2005-06.
The Illini have one of those special players on the team this season. Terrence Shannon Jr. is putting up massive numbers. He isn’t just stat-stuffing either. These are quality numbers that help the team win games.
On Saturday night, Shannon once again had a great game. He tore Rutgers apart with 23 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks on 8-of-13 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 from three-point range. He was also a perfect 3-of-3 from the free throw line.
Illinois’ main need from Shannon is scoring, and he can do it with the best of the best. I honestly believe, if Shannon wanted to, he could average 30 points per game. When he drives into the lane, he is nearly unstoppable. Shannon can take body blows and finish at the rim. He developed the ability to finish with either hand too.
While Shannon’s scoring continued to be the main reason Illinois is winning games, the talented guard can also do everything else on the court. He had his first 10-rebound game on Saturday against the Scarlet Knights. Shannon has a 1.25:1 assist-to-turnover ratio on the season, which is impressive.
Shannon isn’t slowing down. He is on pace to be a first-team All-Big Ten and first-team All-American guard this season. The Illinois basketball team goes as Shannon goes.