Illinois star, NBA prospect Terrence Shannon Jr. ordered to face trial on rape charge

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Despite the University of Illinois dropping its investigation, former star guard Terrence Shannon Jr. has been ordered to stand trial on a rape charge in Kansas.

Shannon was suspended from the basketball team in December when he was initially charged, stemming from an alleged incident in September.

He was reinstated in January after missing six games after a federal judge granted his motion for a temporary restraining order against the school.


Terrence Shannon Jr flexes

Illinois guard Terrence Shannon Jr. reacts after hitting a basket and being fouled during the second-round NCAA Tournament game against Duquesne at the CHI Health Center Omaha in Omaha, Nebraska, on March 23 in  (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

A Kansas judge on Friday ruled, though, that there was probable cause for a trial.

“Our legal team is neither shocked nor disappointed by the outcome of this event,” Mark Sutter, one of Shannon’s attorneys said in a statement, via ESPN. “A preliminary hearing is a procedural process that merely speaks to the threshold of evidence and whether a question of fact may exist for a jury. It has nothing to do with guilt or innocence. Those issues will be decided at trial, and we continue to look forward to our day in court.”

Prosecutors in Douglas County charged Shannon on Dec. 5 with rape or an alternative count of sexual battery. The complaint says the accuser was born in 2005.

The alleged victim told police Shannon pulled her toward him, put his hands under her skirt and touched her sexually. She said the bar was so crowded she couldn’t “do anything,” an affidavit said.

Terrence Shannon Jr vs Tennessee

Illinois Fighting Illini guard Terrence Shannon Jr. brings the ball up court during the game against the Tennessee Volunteers at Food City Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, on Dec. 9, 2023. (Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


Shannon on Friday pleaded not guilty and testified that he never touched the woman.

As a fifth-year student this past season, Shannon led the Illini in scoring (23.0 points per game) and helped them reach the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament before losing to eventual champion UConn.

Shannon transferred to Illinois from Texas Tech prior to the start of the 2021-22 season.

Terrence Shannon Jr.

Terrence Shannon Jr. of the Illinois Fighting Illini handles the ball during the game against the Maryland Terrapins at Xfinity Center in College Park, Maryland, on Dec. 2, 2022. (G Fiume/Getty Images)


Shannon was projected to be a first-round pick prior to the legal case. The trial is set to begin June 10, roughly two weeks before this year’s NBA Draft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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