Texas Tech basketball: Terrence Shannon Jr. Tweet suggests his return is imminent

For the first three games of this Texas Tech basketball season, a huge component of head coach Mark Adams’ team has been missing as Terrence Shannon Jr. has been relegated to the role of spectator as he waits on official approval of his eligibility status from the NCAA.  Now, it appears that his return to the floor is imminent as Wednesday, he Tweeted out a GIF of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton yelling “I’m back” leading us all to believe that Shannon has been cleared to play.

The junior wing has missed the first three games of the Red Raiders’ season after being held out of action by Texas Tech.  This past offseason, Shannon went through the NBA Draft evaluation process before deciding to return to Lubbock for another season.  But something that occurred during that process (there have been no specifics given)  gave the university pause and reason to ask for a review of Shannon’s eligibility status as the school operated out of an “abundance of caution”.

Having Shannon in the mix is going to be crucial for Adams and Co.  The Chicago native was voted to the preseason All-Big 12 team and is one of 20 players named to the Jerry West Award watchlist, an award given annually to the nation’s best shooting guard.

Last year, Shannon averaged 12.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game while helping the Red Raiders reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament.  He scored in double figures in 22 of 28 games and was one of the nation’s most electrifying athletes.

Thus far, life without Shannon has been no problem for the Red Raiders due to two factors.  First, the schedule has been anything but daunting as Tech has faced three teams in North Florida, Grambling, and Prairie View A&M that could not match the collective talent of the Red Raiders.

But also, the play of Mylik Wilson, who has taken Shannon’s place in the starting lineup, has been superb.  A 6-foot-3 guard who transferred from Louisiana this offseason, Wilson has dished out 15 assists while turning the ball over just once thus far.

Though he’s averaged just 5.0 points per game thus far, Wilson has been a great fill-in for Shannon in that he’s been a distributor and a steadying presence.  But he’s not nearly as dynamic of a player nor does he have the type of ceiling that Shannon has.

What will be interesting to watch is, assuming Shannon steps back into the starting five, Kevin McCullar’s expanded role as this team’s primary ball-handler.  So far, McCullar has been aided by Wilson’s presence on the court with him but if Shannon is one of the five starters and Adams has all five on the floor together at key moments, it will be McCullar setting up the offense and directing traffic, a role that he has not played very much at all in his collegiate career.

This year, McCullar has been far more aggressive when looking for his own shots and he’s scoring 14.7 points per game, the most of his career.  He’s also dishing out a career-best 3.5 assists per game.  But on the flip side, his turnovers have jumped to 2.0 per contest, up 0.5 from last year.

Still, Tech will live with McCullar as the lead guard if it means he will have Shannon back to help him carry the offensive load in the backcourt.  And after what Shannon Tweeted on Wednesday, that appears to be what we can expect to see when the Red Raiders take the floor Saturday against Incarnate Word on South Padre Island.