Good Morning, Illini Nation: Draft projections

Apr. 26—The first round of the 2024 NFL Draft passed Thursday night without Illinois defensive tackle Johnny Newton hearing his name called. Will the first round of the 2024 NBA Draft all go Illini-less in June?

Too soon to tell. Some recent mock drafts have Illinois guard Terrence Shannon Jr. squarely in the first round. Others project him as an early second-round pick. Nothing will be certain until his legal situation is resolved.

Shannon will appear in Douglas County (Kan.) district court on May 10 for a preliminary hearing after being arrested in late December on a rape charge. While he finished the 2023-24 season for Illinois after his suspension was reversed by a federal judge, it seems unlikely an NBA team will expend draft capital on him if that charge is still pending.

For now, it's all about mock drafts. The latest from Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo has Shannon slotted at No. 33 to the Portland Trail Blazers. Kevin O'Connor has a similar projection with Shannon going No. 32 to the Utah Jazz. Kyle Boone is a little more optimistic concerning Shannon's draft fate with the 6-foot-6 guard mocked to the reigning champion Denver Nuggets at No. 28.

No one is as high on Shannon, however, than 's Jonathan Wasserman. His current mock draft has him going No. 17 to the Toronto Raptors. It should be worth noting that U.S. District Judge Colleen Lawless referenced an earlier Bleacher Report mock draft in her decision reversing Shannon's suspension, citing the potential loss of that opportunity should he not finish the season for the Illini.