"I hold it true, whate'er befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most; 'Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all." --Tennyson
"You can't teach height." --Red Auerbach
Terrance Shannon nearly took my life. It was just after VCUs win over Stony Brook earlier this season, and Shannon caught me off-guard. As the players were filing out of the locker room and congratulations were being shared, a well-wish of "good game, T" turned into something else.
Shannon got a look in his eyes and he threw his arms around me and lifted me into the air, putting me a bear hug that would make a bear jealous. "Thanks man," he said, putting me down so that I could again breathe, "you're the best."
That's the kind of kid he is. That was, thankfully, the only bear hug he offered me in his time here, however Shannon always had time for a few words when you said hello. He never grunted a "hey," he thanks people, and he is a yes sir/no sir kind of guy.
That's the Terrance Shannon I will take with me as he leaves the VCU basketball program. That Terrance Shannon brings energy to everyone he is around, his megawatt smile and playful manner always up front for you to enjoy.
You can be disappointed in his basketball contributions if you choose, but that's on you. Remember, he was given very high expectations before he ever wore black-and-gold. And I'm right there with you. Even though he played against VCU in the 2011 Sweet 16 game and I'm certain I sat down in front of an FSU game after that, I can't remember any game-action that involved Shannon prior to his time here. After the big opening night win over Illinois State, I wrote:
The times when advance billing lives up to expectation are rare. Shannon bested expectations. He scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds, but he made a number of old man plays that will never make a box score. I'm talking about tipping balls to teammates on purpose, setting cinder block screens, and flat out hustling.
Looking back that was terribly unfair. He was simply a kid trying to make his way on this team, new to everything from offense/defense schematics to friends to the best place to grab a burger.
I have not spoken to Shannon, but he was averaging seven minutes a game in conference play and just four minutes per game since returning from a knee injury. Shannon battled the newness, but he fought through that hurt knee and in fact has not played a collegiate season without missing time due to injury. Shannon has his degree, and he has a child at home in Florida.
My bet: Shannon took all those factors into consideration and was mature enough to realize his basketball dream was not going to happen and chose to get his life moving. When the VCU release states he left for personal reasons, in this case it's actually personal reasons.
Terrance Shannon is a reminder to us that sometimes there is no dirt. Sometimes you take chances and work your damndest to have them see success and everybody tries their hardest to get there. And sometimes, it just doesn't work out. It didn't work out for Terrence Shannon at VCU, and Terrance Shannon didn't work out for VCU.
But Shannon's life will go on and he will be successful and VCUs season will go on and the Rams will be successful. And that's kind of weird.
Good game, Big T. We're rooting for you: