3. Terrence Shannon Jr. was, thankfully, aggressive
Readers have to be annoyed with how many times I have talked about aggression. Illinois is an aggression team first, and on Friday night, they were perfectly aggressive.
The leader of this aggression was Terrence Shannon Jr. I have said it 1,000 times but Shannon is at his best when he goes full bulldog on the opposing team. Shannon had this mentality against Missouri.
Shannon finished the game on Friday with 30 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks while going 9-of-14 from the field and 2-of-6 from three-point range.
I believe Shannon should see at least 10 free throw attempts per game from his aggression too. He was able to get to the charity stripe to shoot 16 shots against the Tigers, even though he only made 10 of those attempts.
Missouri couldn’t stop Shannon on his way to the basket. He could have three guys crashing down on him, but Shannon’s ability to take a hit and draw a foul is impressive. His aggression does more than just increase his point total too.
When Shannon gets aggressive, the rest of the team follows suit. More players start driving to the hoop. He energizes the Illinois basketball team with his tenacity. I also love the fact when Shannon does drive, it starts to get the defense on their heels. Players start dropping off their man, and this leaves a wide-open Illinois shooter from three-point range.
Shannon’s aggression is special. I haven’t seen this type of style at Illinois in a long time. Ayo Dosunmu had tinges of it. Deron Williams had tinges of it. Even Dee Brown had a little in him. But Shannon’s aggression is something special.