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

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Former Illinois standout Terrence Shannon Jr., a potential first-round NBA draft pick, 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 the 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.

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 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.

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

The 6-foot-6 Shannon, who can play point guard and shooting guard, played five 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.


AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball


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Dave Skretta


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