2 new players for Nuggets fans to watch as potential draft prospects in the Sweet 16

Illinois v Northwestern
Illinois v Northwestern / Michael Reaves/GettyImages
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Terrance Shannon Jr., Illinois

Before the tournament started, I previewed four players to watch who were all big men, and could potentially serve as Jokic backups. So it’s only right that we focus on new players, and with Shannon along with Kolek we’re looking at two guard options.

Shannon has had quite the polarizing college career. He started off at Texas Tech and made third team All-Big 12 as a sophomore. He declared for the NBA draft, but ultimately returned to school for his Junior year.

After that he transferred to Illinois where he made second team All-Big 10 as a senior and declared for the draft once again. But again, he withdrew and came back to Illinois as a graduate Senior.

But 11 games into the season, Shannon was arrested, charged with rape, and suspended indefinitely. He declared his innocence from the start, sued the school, and was reinstated after missing six games.

Off court question-marks aside, Shannon Jr. balled out after returning. The 6’5” guard made first team All-Big 10, second team All-American, and led the Illini to a Big 10 Tournament championship where he was named Most Outstanding player.

He’s a big guard (or a small wing), and a great athlete. He can make his living on defense and creates positive explosive plays on that end regularly. Offensively he’s a little raw and just a streaky shooter.

But he can make plays and get to the cup. He’s already almost 24 years old, but he could come into the league and be a solid combo guard for the Nuggets off the bench. He’d bring a nice injection of pace to the team, and would thrive cutting and playing off the ball with Jokic. If he cleans up his handle and improves his jump shooting, he could become a very special player at the next level.

Shannon averaged 23.3 points and 4 rebounds for the Illini this season. He helped lead the squad get past Morehead State in round one and Duquesne in round two fairly easily, but they’ll have their hands full with Iowa State on Thursday night.