Knicks land star Illinois guard in latest mock draft

Terrence Shannon Jr., Knicks
Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks are in possession of two first-round picks, 24th and 25th overall, in the upcoming 2024 NBA Draft. The latest mock draft from Yahoo! Sports projects the Knicks to select the University of Illinois’ Terrence Shannon Jr. with the 24th overall pick.

if they are fine with the way the process unfolded then they could consider making him a first-round pick — if they feel there are red flags, they should stay away

Terrence Shannon Jr. is seeing an uptick in draft stock after being found not guilty of charges in a recent trial

Terrence Shannon Jr., Knicks
Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Shannon Jr. made headlines for the wrong reasons last December after he was arrested following allegations of felony rape and aggravated sexual assault stemming from an incident at a bar in Kansas last September. In the aftermath of his arrest, Shannon Jr. was suspended by Illinois, who soon launched their own investigation into the matter.

The star Fighting Illini guard missed the team’s next six games before obtaining a temporary restraining order allowing him to return to action. The University eventually dropped its investigation due to a lack of evidence against Shannon Jr., however his criminal case remained open. Last week, following a months-long investigation, and a week-long trial, Shannon Jr. was found not guilty of the charges brought against him by a jury in Kansas.

Initially projected as a potential lottery pick earlier in the season, the controversy surrounding Shannon Jr.’s allegations affected his draft stock severely. While his talent on the court was never in question, many mock draft boards had the standout guard dropping out of the first round completely following his arrest.

In light of the recent not-guilty verdict, Shannon Jr. now finds himself as a projected first-round pick once again, with the Knicks entering the fray as potential suitors for his services.

Terrence Shannon Jr. shined last season with the Fighting Illini

Terrence Shannon Jr., Knicks
Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Shannon Jr. broke out as one of college basketball’s finest talents last season with Illinois. The 23-year-old averaged 23.0 points per game (third in NCAA Division 1), and was superb in the Big Ten Tournament, winning Most Outstanding Player of the tournament after averaging 34 points per game.

The Illinois star was also instrumental in the team’s run to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament, where they fell to eventual champion UConn Huskies. Shannon Jr. was named to First-Team All-Big Ten, and Third-Team AP All-American last season.

Originally a rim-attacking slashing guard who used his blazing speed to blow past his defenders early in his college career, the 23-year-old Shannon Jr. is now a dynamic three-level scorer, combining his impressive slashing abilities with an improved self-creation and jump-shooting game.

Last season, he shot 47% from the field and showcased a true shooting leap converting on 36% of his three-pointers on over six attempts per game. Shannon Jr. improved his scoring average from 17.2 points per game in 2023, to 23.0 points per game in 2024 thanks to these improvements. His matured play style makes him an NBA-ready scorer who can provide the Knicks with a positive impact right away, further deepening the team’s scoring depth off the bench.

Shannon Jr. is not afraid of the bright lights of Madison Square Garden

Dec 5, 2023; New York, New York, USA;  Illinois Fighting Illini guard Terrence Shannon Jr. (0) drives to the basket against the Florida Atlantic Owls during the first half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Shannon Jr. is no stranger to big games at Madison Square Garden. In 2021, then a member of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, Shannon Jr. ushered in an impressive 18-point, 12-rebound performance to defeat No. 13 Tennessee 57-52 in the Jimmy V Classic. He would set The Garden on fire a second time on Dec. 5th last season. Now with Illinois, Shannon Jr. lit up MSG once again for a then career-high 33 points as his Fighting Illini defeated No. 11 Florida Atlantic 98-89 for another Jimmy V Classic win.

Yahoo! Sports also projects the Knicks to select Purdue’s Zach Edey with the 25th overall pick, and Virginia’s Ryan Dunn with the 38th overall pick. With the NBA Draft just around the corner, the Knicks will get to the drawing board and survey all of their options ahead of a pivotal draft for a team with title aspirations next season.

Mentioned in this article:

More about: