Terrence Shannon Jr., after trial, goes to Timberwolves in NBA draft

Terrence Shannon Jr., who was found not guilty of rape and aggravated assault by a jury in Kansas earlier this month, was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the 27th pick in Wednesday’s NBA draft evening.

The Illinois guard was arrested in December for an alleged September incident at a Lawrence, Kansas, bar after a woman alleged he lured her toward him and penetrated her vagina with his fingers shortly after they met.

Shannon has consistently denied the allegations, and witnesses for her defense during the trial testified that they never saw Shannon approach a woman in the manner described by police. Following the alleged incident, the woman found Shannon’s photo in an online team listing and then went to police.

After his arrest, Shannon was suspended by Illinois, which launched its own investigation. He missed six games before receiving a temporary restraining order and returning to the field. He then led the team to the NCAA tournament. The school later dropped its investigation, citing a lack of evidence.

“The team’s reputation off the court is great. Talk to the coaches at Texas Tech. Talk to the coaches at Illinois. They don’t say good things. They say amazing things,” the president of basketball operations said of the Timberwolves, Tim Connelly, Wednesday night. “He was obviously on the wrong side of a really unfortunate situation, and his ability to play that way and play winning basketball for a great coach like Brad Underwood — we just think he brings toughness.”

Connelly said the Timberwolves “did a ton” of background work on Shannon by looking at his experience, his courage and his ability to score from any spot on the court.

“A lot of times, as soon as you’re accused, you’re found guilty. Luckily, he took legal action. He chose to go to court because he knew he didn’t do anything wrong,” said Connelly. “I just think it’s unfortunate that he had to go through that, and I think it’s a testament to who he is as a kid and his ability to play through a very difficult distraction.”

Before his arrest in December, Shannon was a top-25 pick in this year’s NBA draft. In total, the fifth-year senior has played in 31 games this season, averaging 23.0 points and 4.0 rebounds.

An explosive wing who has made strides with his ground game this season, Shannon should help the Timberwolves as a perimeter defender capable of scoring in transition.

“I think he’s a three-position defender. I think he’s an incredibly competitive guy. He’s got size. Another downhill guy who’s going to play with pace,” Connelly said.

The Associated Press and ESPN’s Myron Medcalf and Jonathan Givony contributed to this report.

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