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Terrence Shannon Jr., after trial, goes to Timberwolves in NBA draft

Terrence Shannon Jr., who was found not guilty of felony rape and aggravated assault by a jury in Kansas earlier this month, was selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the 27th pick in the NBA draft on Wednesday night.

The Illinois guard was arrested in December for an alleged incident in September at a bar in Lawrence, Kansas, after a woman alleged that he pulled her toward him and penetrated her vagina with his fingers shortly after they met.

Shannon consistently denied the allegations, and witnesses for his defense during the trial said they never saw Shannon approach a woman in the manner described by police. Following the alleged incident, the woman found Shannon’s picture in a roster of the team online then went to police.

After his arrest, Shannon was suspended by Illinois, which launched its own investigation. He missed six games before he retained a temporary restraining order and returned to the court. He then led the team to the NCAA tournament. The school subsequently dropped its investigation, citing a lack of evidence.

“The off-court reputation is sterling. Talk to the coaches at Texas Tech. Talk to the coaches at Illinois. They don’t say good things. They say amazing things,” Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said Wednesday night. “Obviously he was on the wrong end of a really unfortunate situation, and his ability to play through that and play winning basketball for a great coach in Brad Underwood — we just think he brings toughness.”

Connelly said the Timberwolves “did a ton” of background work on Shannon with an interest in his experience, fortitude and scoring ability from anywhere on the court.

“Oftentimes, the minute you’re accused you’re found guilty. Thankfully he went the legal process. He chose to go to trial because he knew he did nothing wrong,” Connelly said. “I just think it’s a shame he went through that, and I think it’s a testament to who he is as a kid and his ability to play through a really tough distraction.”

Prior to his arrest in December, Shannon was a projected top-25 pick for this year’s NBA draft. Overall, the fifth-year senior played in 31 games this season, averaging 23.0 points and 4.0 rebounds.

An explosive wing who made strides with his floor game this season, Shannon should help the Timberwolves as a perimeter defender who can score in transition.

“I think he’s a three-position defender. I think he’s an unbelievably competitive guy. He’s got size. Another downhill guy who’s going to play with pace,” Connelly said.

The Associated Press and ESPN’s Myron Medcalf and Jonathan Givony contributed to this report.