As we take a look at the five best games of Terrance Shannon Jr.’s freshman season, we can see why the future is so bright for the athletic forward.
When the Texas Tech basketball program signed the class of 2019, almost all of the focus was on Jahmi’us Ramsey, who at the time was the highest-rated player to ever sign with the program. But had it not been for him, we would have been celebrating the fact that Chris Beard had landed a player the caliber of Terrence Shannon Jr.
Rated as the No. 127 player in his class and the No. 29 small forward in America by 247Sports, he would have been the headliner in almost any of the program’s previous recruiting hauls. In fact, he’s rated as the No. 7 all-time signee in Red Raider history.
Adding Shannon to the mix was a huge win for Beard. And Tech got into the fight for his services rather late in the process.
Back in August of 2018, Shannon verbally committed to his hometown DePaul Blue Demons only to back out of that pledge in just a week’s time. At that point, Tech still had not offered him a scholarship but schools like Georgetown, Florida State, Illinois, Maryland, and Texas A&M, and Louisville were already in the fray.
But two days after Shannon decomitted from DePaul, Tech extended its offer. By March of 2019, he had committed to the Red Raiders and the rest is history.
Most fans were not nearly as aware of what to expect from the Illinois product who played his high school basketball in Florida. While Ramsey was playing high school basketball in nearby Duncanville, Texas in the Dallas-area, the home of the second-largest Red Raider alumni base in the world, meaning that it was easy to keep up with his high school career, Shannon arrived as a bit of an unknown to most fans.
That’s why many were somewhat surprised when he started in the season’s first game over grad transfer Chris Clarke. In all, he would start 21 of the 29 games he played this season but towards the end of the year, he was replaced in the starting lineup by fellow freshman Kevin McCullar Jr.
That move was a result of a lack of defensive intensity and a decrease in willingness to battle for rebounds that seemed to creep into Shannon’s game in the middle of conference play. Those two areas are highly-valued by Chris Beard and they also happen to be aspects of the game at which McCullar excels so it was not tough to understand why Beard made that change.
Still, it was a solid first year for Shannon. He ended the year averaging 9.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1 assist, and 0.9 steals per game. He was fourth on the team in scoring, third in rebounding, tied for second in steals, and sixth in minutes played (23.5 per game).
That was good enough to garner All-Big 12 Freshman team honors. In fact, he and Ramsey combined to give Tech 2/5 of the conference’s All-Freshman team.
Just as was the case when he signed with Tech, if it had not been for the fantastic season from Ramsey, we would ben even more appreciative of the season Shannon put together even with its periods of inconsistency and the natural growing pains that we saw him go through. So let’s take a look at the five best games of his season because they will help us fully grasp how solid the true freshman was while providing proof of what he could eventually become.