Illinois basketball has a projected top 20 pick in the 2024 NBA Draft

Meyers Leonard was the last first round NBA Draft pick from the Illinois basketball program, but that might all change in 2024
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Illinois basketball is going to sorely miss one of the best players in program history, as Terrence Shannon Jr. has departed the program.

Shannon spent five seasons in the college game, his final two in Champaign where he shined the brightest. He averaged 20.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 steals per game with the Illini, and he helped propel the program to an Elite 8 berth in 2024.

Now that Shannon is done in the college ranks, he is being compared with his peers. The NBA Draft is right around the corner, and there is work to be done to get selected in one of the two rounds.

In a recent 2024 NBA Mock Draft, Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report put together a full two-round prediction. While Shannon isn’t projected to be a lottery pick, he doesn’t fall much past that top-11 status.

Wasserman’s mock draft has Shannon going at pick No. 17 to the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans have this pick via the Los Angeles Lakers.

This would be an interesting pick for New Orleans. They are a forward-heavy team, so they need more guard play. CJ McCollum is a nice option in the backcourt and Trey Murphy III looked good in the playoffs, but the Pelicans need more guard options than that.

Shannon could come into the franchise and be a ball-dominant guard who can score at multiple levels. I feel like they don’t have that right now. McCullum and Murphy are more perimeter shooters, so having Shannon get downhill and to the basket would help New Orleans tremendously.

Terrence Shannon Jr.’s NBA future hinges on the upcoming trial in June

While Shannon is projected as a first-round pick in the 2024 NBA Draft, everything hinges on his trial coming up.

Shannon had his preliminary hearing on a charge of rape on May 10. In this hearing, the judge felt that there was enough for the case to go to a jury trial. This trial is set to start on June 10. The NBA Draft is on June 26-27.

Shannon is still going through the draft process. He sat down with the media on Tuesday for the first time since the allegations against him.

With the biggest moment of his professional life right around the corner, we are in a waiting game to see how his personal life plays out.  

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