Ex-Illinois star Terrence Shannon Jr., potential first-round NBA draft pick, not guilty of rape

The 23-year-old Shannon was accused of committing sexual assault last September while visiting Kansas for a football game between the Illini and the Jayhawks.

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University of Illinois basketball standout Terrence Shannon Jr. appears in court during his trial

University of Illinois basketball standout Terrence Shannon Jr. appears in court during his trial, Wednesday, June 12, 2024, in Lawrence, Kan. Shannon, of Champaign, Ill., is accused of committing sexual assault on Sept. 9, 2023, in Lawrence, Kan.

Chris Conde/AP

Former Illinois basketball standout Terrence Shannon Jr., a potential first-round pick in the NBA Draft, was found not guilty Thursday on a rape charge after a jury in Douglas County, Kansas, spent less than two hours deliberating the verdict.

The 23-year-old Shannon was accused of committing sexual assault last September while visiting Kansas for a football game between the Illini and Jayhawks. He was charged with rape or an alternative count of sexual battery, which led to him being suspended for six games. A federal judge later reinstated him, ruling that his civil rights had been violated.

After the verdict he posted a video to social media.

Shannon testified that he joined two roommates and a few Kansas players at a bar on Sept. 8, 2023, but he only had a few drinks and remembered everything that happened that night. Shannon said that he didn’t learn of the rape allegation until several weeks later and that he had never seen the 18-year-old woman who had accused him until the case had begun.

The woman told police she was at the bar when a man, whom she later identified as Shannon, grabbed her buttocks and reached under her skirt to touch her. The woman claimed that the bar was crowded, so she was unable to move.

Shannon testified that a woman close to him had been raped and he would never treat another woman the same way.

Shannon’s lawyers called the allegations a “blind accusation” and questioned the motives of the woman. They also criticized the prosecutors in Douglas County for a lack of evidence and a Lawrence detective for the thoroughness of his investigation.

Following the verdict, Illinois basketball coach Brad Underwood issued a statement of support: “I am thrilled for Terrence with the news of today’s verdict. Under six months of intense scrutiny, Terrence has shown tremendous composure, maturity, and focus.

“He can now put this behind him and move forward with his life. I, along with everyone in our Illinois Basketball program, will continue to offer Terrence our full support as he looks to fulfill his NBA dreams,” Underwood said.

Many scouts had been watching the case closely ahead of the draft, which is scheduled for June 26-27.

The 6-6 Shannon, who can play point guard and shooting guard, played two seasons for Illinois. He was at his best this past season, averaging 23 points for a team that reached the Elite Eight before losing to eventual national champion UConn.

Shannon was voted first-team All-Big Ten and a third-team All-American by the Associated Press.

More on Terrence Shannon Jr.
“It’s a real serious accusation, and I’m aware of that,” Shannon, who will stand trial on June 10 in Kansas, said at the NBA Draft Combine in the South Loop.
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The suspension, the judge ruled, deprived Shannon of “protected property interests” without due process.
Shannon’s attorneys said the university rushed to judgment and did not follow its protocols. “All we want for our client is a fair process, and TJ has not received that yet,” they said in a statement.

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