WCIA — The trajectory of the Illinois men’s basketball season shifted greatly with the return of forwards Coleman Hawkins and Terrence Shannon Jr., who both withdrew from the NBA Draft on Wednesday.

The stats speak for themselves, as they were the two leaders in minutes last season, Shannon led the team in points per game (17.2) while Hawkins was third (9.9), and the two had more than ten rebounds per game combined. ESPN had the two ranked as the 54th and 55th best available players in the draft.

Their Illini teammates had no idea what their decision would end up being at the deadline. Ty Rodgers and Dain Dainja say they were left guessing.

“Man, I was on Twitter laughing and joking with Coleman [Hawkins] just like everybody else,” Rodgers said. “I had no idea. Obviously super exciting to get those guys back. It’s going to be amazing for our team and the program just for us to be able to continue that culture.”

“I didn’t have any idea. We all figured out when you guys did,” Dainja said. “Our team can benefit a lot from those guys, those are some of the older guys in the program. They have a lot to bring to the table, on and off the court for us.”

It is just under two weeks until Summer workouts begin for the Illini.