Illinois got a big boost Wednesday night when All-Big Ten guard Terrence Shannon Jr. announced on social media that he will return to Champaign for a fifth college season in 2023-24.
Illini forward Coleman Hawkins also is withdrawing from the NBA draft and staying in school, according to reports, while Northwestern guard Chase Audige reportedly will remain in the draft.
The 6-foot-6 Shannon, who went to Lincoln Park High School, averaged 17.2 points and 4.6 rebounds for the Illini last season after transferring from Texas Tech.
“Excited to be back in Littyville and play for the best fans in the country,” Shannon tweeted. “Let’s do this!!”
The 6-10 Hawkins averaged 9.9 points last season and led the Illini in rebounds (6.3) and assists (3.0).
Wednesday was the NCAA’s deadline for players who declared as early entrants to the NBA draft to withdraw and retain their college eligibility. Purdue center Zach Edey, the AP player of the year, and guard Tristen Newton of national champion Connecticut also were among those withdrawing.
But Kentucky’s star big man, Oscar Tshiebwe — the 2022 AP player of the year — is sticking with his pro pursuit, announcing that he will remain in the draft.
Newton (10.1 points, 4.7 assists, 4.5 rebounds) was one of four UConn players to enter the draft after their run to the program’s fifth national championship. He scored a game-high 19 points to go with 10 rebounds in the victory over San Diego State in the title game.
The others were Final Four Most Outstanding Player Adama Sanogo, wing Jordan Hawkins and versatile guard Andre Jackson Jr. Sanogo (17.8 points) and Hawkins (16.3) made it clear they had closed the door on their college careers, while team spokesman Phil Chardis said Wednesday night that Jackson (6.1 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists) also would remain in the draft.
The Huskies have 247 Sports’ No. 3 recruiting class coming in to restock the roster, led by McDonald’s All-American point guard Stephon Castle.
The NBA’s withdrawal deadline is June 12 but is moot when it comes to college players returning to school because of the NCAA’s earlier timeline to retain eligibility.
Staying in school
Trey Alexander: Creighton gets back a 6-4 guard who averaged 13.6 points and shot 41% from 3-point range in his first full season as a starter.
Adem Bona: The 6-10 forward and Pac-12 freshman of the year is returning to UCLA after starting 32 games and averaging 7.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks — with coach Mick Cronin praising his toughness for “competing through multiple injuries for as long as he could” in a statement Wednesday.
Zach Edey: The 7-4 Edey averaged 22.3 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 assists while shooting 60.7% from the field. His presence alone helps Purdue be a factor in the Big Ten race.
Josiah-Jordan James: The 6-6 guard went through the NBA G League combine and had workouts with multiple teams before opting to return to Tennessee for a fifth season alongside teammate Santiago Vescovi.
Judah Mintz: The 6-3 freshman averaged 16.3 points and 4.6 assists for Syracuse, ranking third among Division I freshmen in scoring behind Alabama’s Brandon Miller and Lamar’s Nate Calmese.
Florida Atlantic: The Owls got good news after their surprising Final Four run with the return of leading scorers Johnell Davis (13.8) and Alijah Martin (13.4). ESPN first reported their decisions, while Martin later posted a statement on social media.
Michigan State: The Spartans announced that guards Jaden Akins and A.J. Hoggard have withdrawn from the draft. Standout guard Tyson Walker previously withdrew in April, setting up Tom Izzo to have five of his top scorers back.
Kobe Brown: Missouri’s 6-8 swingman opted against returning for a fifth college season after being a first-team All-SEC pick while averaging 15.8 points last season.
Jaylen Clark: The third-year UCLA guard averaged 13 points and six rebounds while leading the Pac-12 with 2.6 steals en route to being named Naismith national defensive player of the year. Cronin called him a winner with strong intangibles who made UCLA “a better program because he chose to be a Bruin.”
Brice Sensabaugh: The Ohio State freshman averaged 16.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 31 games before missing his final two in the Big Ten Tournament because of a knee injury. He’s a potential first-round prospect.
Oscar Tshiebwe: The 6-9, 260-pound forward is a tough interior presence who led the country in rebounds for two straight seasons (15.1 in 2022, 13.7 in 2023) while racking up 48 double-doubles. But he faces an uncertain next stop and is projected at best as a second-round prospect.
AP’s Gary B. Graves, Pat Eaton-Robb, Beth Harris, Larry Lage, Teresa M. Walker and Tom Withers contributed.