Ex-Illinois star Terrence Shannon Jr. addresses ‘real serious’ charges

Former Illinois standout Terrence Shannon Jr. addressed the charges brought against him for the first time on Tuesday at the NBA draft combine and said he understands the severity of them.

Shannon was ordered by a Kansas judge last week to stand trial on first-degree felony rape and sexual aggravated battery charges on June 10. The judge ruled at the preliminary hearing that there was probable cause for the trial to proceed.

He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman on Sept. 8 in Lawrence, Kansas, while he was in town for an Illinois football game. The woman informed police about the incident the following day after identifying Shannon through a Google search.

Shannon, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, was arrested in Douglas County on Dec. 28 after police issued a warrant and released after posting a $50,000 bail.

“Obviously, it’s a real serious accusation, and I’m aware of that,” Shannon said, via WCIA-TV in Champaign, Illinois. “I can’t go into much detail about it, but I’m just focused on what I can control and that is basketball, what I do on the court, in the weight room and with my family.”

Shannon was suspended indefinitely by Illinois in December after his arrest. He returned after missing six games when he received a temporary restraining order from a federal judge, who ruled the program didn’t provide him due process at his school hearing.

The 23-year-old finished the season, leading the Fighting Illini to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2005. He didn’t participate in media interviews following his arrest and had been silent until speaking Tuesday in Chicago, Illinois.

“I have a trial on June 10,” said Shannon, who fielded questions from reporters for about 25 minutes. “I can’t really talk much about it, but I’m looking forward to my day in court.”

Shannon was voted a third-team All-American by the Associated Press after averaging 23 points, four rebounds, 2.3 assists and one steal in 32 games this past season as a fifth-year senior. He finished third in the country in scoring and sixth in free throws (221).

He is considered a potential first-round pick this year in the NBA draft. His lawyers have said that his rape trial will be finished by the draft on June 26-27.

“Everybody is going to face adversity in their life, but it is all about how you respond to it,” Shannon said. “It is all about how you respond to it. You can’t just sit and pout. You got to just face it head-on and I feel like it has made me a better leader.”

Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire