Shareef O'Neal—son of the Lakers legend Shaquille O'Neal—is ready to play basketball at the college level, he committed to play for the UCLA Bruins.
Shareef played his last two seasons of High School at Crossroads in Los Angeles California, where he led his team to win the CIF Division II state title for the first time since 1997. In the title game, number eleven scored 29 points, rebounded 17 times, and blocked five shots. During his senior year, the 18-year-old player averaged 27 points.
Initially, Shareef committed to play with the University of Arizona, until a corruption scandal—which involved Arizona coach Sean Miller—became public. The FBI intercepted Miller’s telephone calls where he discussed paying $100,000 to ensure star freshman Deandre Ayton signed with the Wildcats. Due to this, O'Neal decided to de-commit to Arizona and re-opened up his recruitment.
“At this time, I'm am opening up my recruitment due to the current events with the UofA Bball team” O'Neal twitted, “I would like to thank all the coaches for recruiting me. At the time my family and I think it's in my best interest to look at other options to assure my play in the NCAA next year.”
The new UCLA player is currently rated by ESPN as the number 29 overall prospect in the class of 2018. He is a “terrific combination of size, skill, and athleticism” in words of Steve Alford, UCLA coach. Shareef is a different type of player than his dad, starting from his size. The son of the 2000 MVP is 6 ft 10 and 205 lb, while Shaq was a 7'1" and 294 lbs player in College. Moreover, the former Crossroads player is a big man adapted to the new style of play with a great jump shot and fast break skills.
Certainly, his dad's name puts a lot of pressure on him. Although Shareef had denied it. “I don’t think pressure exists anymore,” Shareef said to SLAM, “I used to think it was when I was growing up, and I used to doubt myself a lot when I had a bad game cause of what people would say, but it doesn’t exist to me anymore.”
However, now he will be playing at the College level where there is much more pressure, and the spotters will continuously be aiming to see what the son of the NBA legend does.