The Texas Tech basketball program has held two closed-door scrimmages during the last few weeks, one against Wichita State and one against New Mexico State. And while details of both have been tough to come by, one bit of info that has leaked out is the fact that star forward Terrence Shannon Jr. did not play in either leaving Red Raider fans to wonder why one of the team’s best players was being withheld from competition. On Sunday, we got our answer.
Through a brief statement, the university announced that Shannon is being voluntarily held out of competition until his eligibility can be confirmed following his participation in the NBA Draft evaluation process this spring and summer.
The statement reads in full: “Terrence Shannon Jr. went through the NBA Draft process over the summer and subsequently withdrew his name to return to Texas Tech University and the basketball program as NCAA rules allow. Out of an abundance of caution, Texas Tech is withholding Shannon from competition to ensure there are no possible issues resulting from that process and that all NCAA rules were followed. Shannon will not compete until this review process is completed. Texas Tech is working diligently to complete this review process.”
Fortunately for the Red Raiders, the season opens with six cupcakes meaning that Tech won’t face an opponent from a major conference until the December 1st road game at Providence. But everyone in scarlet and black better hope that Shannon is ready to go by then because that begins a stretch of four games during which Tech will also face Tennessee and preseason No. 1 Gonzaga (in addition to Arkansas State).
Last year, Shannon averaged 12.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. And the 6-foot-7 small forward is one of the most dynamic athletes in the Big 12, if not the nation. Thus, his absence will be felt.
However, it also provides opportunities for other plays on the roster to play a more significant role early in the year. And in that regard, Shannon’s absence could wind up being a blessing for some of his teammates as they will have a chance to prove their worth to new head coach Mark Adams while playing more minutes. So let’s take a look at three players that could see their stock rise while Shannon’s eligibility is sorted out.
One of the seven transfers that Adamas landed over the course of the offseason, forward Adonis Arms might be a natural fit to take over Shannon’s role for the time being. That’s because the 6-foot-5, 200-pound native of Wisconsin is also a top-notch athlete who is capable of being a force on both ends of the floor.
Playing for Winthrop last year, he averaged 10.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. What’s more, he had 13 double-digit scoring games despite coming off the bench for most of the season.
Arms’ offensive numbers are similar to Shannon’s. Last year, he was a 40.7% overall shooter from the floor while hitting 35.1% of his attempts from beyond the 3-point arc. Meanwhile, Shannon was a 45.7% shooter from the floor while hitting 32.8% of his shots from deep.
But we all know that Adams values defense and that’s what Arms might be most equipped to provide this Red Raider team. Using his long wing-span (which is appropriate given his last name) he racked up 19 steals in just 22 games and that defensive acumen could earn him Adams’ trust.
If Adams wants a player who is experienced in his system to slide into the starting five, he could turn to redshirt freshman Chibuzo Agbo, who is in his second year with the Red Raiders. Of course, last year, Agbo was simply a spare part who appeared in 22 games but played only an average of 6.4 minutes per appearance.
But they say that a player makes the greatest strides between his first and second season on campus and many are expecting Agbo to step forward into a more significant role this season. And should that happen, he could be a nice 3-point weapon for Adams. Granted, he shot only 32% from downtown last year but he has one of the most textbook jump-shots you’ll ever see and many feel it is only a matter of time before that skill becomes a huge component of his game.
It would be interesting to see how the Red Raider attack would look with Agbo playing some of Shannon’s minutes. He’s more of a jump shooter who isn’t nearly as skilled of a creator as Shannon is but he could be able to space the floor and allow Tech’s new starting forward combo of Bryson Williams and Kevin Obanor to operate in the paint.
Agbo is one of the true wildcards on this year’s team. Will he take a step forward in year two in Lubbock and become a key contributor or is his time still a year away? That’s a question that we might get more early returns on than we originally thought if Agbo is asked to help fill Shannon’s shoes.
While Agbo’s 3-point prowess remains largely based on potential, Sadaar Calhoun has already proven to be a terrific long0range bomber and that skill could help him earn a large role in Shannon’s absence. A season ago, playing for Florida State, the 6-foot-5 guard shot 39.7% from beyond the arc, a skill that Texas Tech hopes will transfer to West Texas as this team will need some 3-point shooting from its backcourt to help offset the loss of last year’s leading 3-point shooter, Kyler Edwards.
But Calhoun is similar to Agbo in the sense that he isn’t all that seasoned. Though he’s played more college basketball than Agbo, he has only one year of Division I basketball under his belt (he played two years of JUCO ball prior to Florida State). And during that one season, he averaged a mere 14.2 minutes per game.
On the other end of the floor, it will be interesting to see if Calhoun can play good enough defense to satisfy his new head coach. In 2020-21, his defensive rating was just 103.2. That would have ranked worst on last year’s Texas Tech basketball team. Still, the offense he could bring to the mix by way of the deep ball could help him take over some of the minutes Shannon would have played.