The 2021-22 Texas Tech basketball team got appreciably better on Wednesday despite not adding a new player to the roster. That’s because Terrence Shannon Jr. announced in a stirring social media video featuring Ronald Ross that he intended to run it back for another year as a Red Raider.
Having entered his name in the NBA Draft but deciding not to hire an agent, Shannon had until 11:59 PM on Wednesday to withdraw from the draft or else take his chances that his name would be called by an NBA team later this summer. Fortunately for the Red Raiders, he decided to take the sure option and return to Lubbock.
Last season, Shannon posted 12.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game while starting 21 of 29 contests. He was named a third-team All-Big 12 honoree and one of five finalists for the Julius Erving Award, given annually to the nation’s top small forward.
Thus, it made sense for Shannon to test the NBA waters and to receive an evaluation of his game from professional organizations. But with most mock drafts having him slotted in the mid-to-late second round of the two-round draft, he was facing the prospect of going into next season with no guaranteed roster spot in the NBA given that teams are less likely to automatically put their second-rounders on the active roster since second-round picks typically do not receive guaranteed contracts.
It is the second-straight offseason in which a key member of the Texas Tech basketball program has faced the decision between coming back to Lubbock or staying in the draft despite not being a guaranteed first-round pick. Of course, last year, guard Jahmi’us Ramsey decided to do the opposite of what Shannon is doing as he stayed in the draft where he was taken No. 43 overall by the Sacramento Kings.
This season, Ramsey saw action in just 13 NBA games where he averaged 3.1 points and 0.8 rebounds. Spending most of his time in the G League, his rookie year was a stark reminder of just how tough it can be for second-round picks to crack an NBA roster.
One has to wonder if seeing Ramsey struggle to get a look with the Kings played any role in Shannon’s decision. What’s more, it is fair to ponder how the new Name Image and Likeness rule in the NCAA played a role.
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Because college athletes can now profit off of the use of their name, image, and likeness, Shannon could be insulated from a potential disaster. Were Shannon to receive a nice endorsement deal from a local (or even national) business, as so many NCAA athletes already have, he would still have some money in the bank even if the worst-case scenario were to play out and he was to sustain a significant injury that hurt his stock for next summer’s draft. In other words, players now have options when it comes to making an income off of basketball rather than just pinning all their hopes on the NBA.
It’s all a fascinating reminder of the pressures and decisions being placed on a young man who is only in his very early 20s. But what matters is that Shannon is coming back to Tech where he could thrive under the new coaching staff.
Keep in mind that Tech is building a roster designed to play at a much faster tempo on both ends of the court this coming season. On defense, Shannon and his teammates will likely apply more full and half-court pressure and that could lead to easy buckets in transition, something Shannon is already known for around the Big 12.
But even more helpful to Shannon’s career might be the scrapping of the motion offense, which at times seemed to bog down players such as himself who want to attack off the dribble as soon as they get the ball. This year, look for more space to be created for Shannon and the other Red Raiders in the half-court sets which will allow him to attack with ferocity instead of going through an offense in which the head coach requires a set number of passes to be made before a shot could go up as was so often the case under Chris Beard.
Texas Tech is absolutely loaded on the wings given all of the new additions that Mark Adams has brought in and that was already the case prior to Wednesday. But the return of this program’s most dynamic wing makes this Red Raider roster one that should not be overlooked. And what’s exciting for Red Raider fans is that Adams isn’t done building his team yet.