Shareef O’Neal follows dad Shaquille’s footsteps, commits to LSU
NBA fans who kept tabs on Shareef O’Neal were probably wondering where he will be playing next after dropping out of UCLA. The question has been answered by the man himself this All-Star Weekend: he’s following his father’s footsteps and is continuing his collegiate hoops at LSU.
Sports Illustrated caught up with the 6’9″ forward during the festivities of the All-Star Weekend and asked him about his plans after withdrawing from the Bruins earlier this year. He was more than happy to announce to the world that his commitment to his father’s alma mater is a “done deal.”
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 15, 2020
The reporter asked if the young man was following his father’s footsteps, even quipping that the footsteps he’s following are especially big. He chuckled and acknowledged that he is taking on a path his father took before him. However, he also pointed out that he’s excited to play in Louisiana.
“I’m ready for it, great program. Louisiana is a different scene. I’ve been in LA for most of my life, but I’m ready for it.”
O’Neal was redshirted in his freshman year with the Bruins due to a heart condition that was discovered on him. He had to sit out the 2018-19 season as he recovered from the injury and finally got some playing time this season under Mick Cronin.
Unfortunately for him, he didn’t get a lot of playing time as he was still recovering and is not a perfect fit in Cronin’s system. He didn’t start in any of the 16 games he played, averaging only 2.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 0.2 assists a game. Given the situation, it only made sense for him to transfer away from the school in order to get a fresh start.
It will be interesting for him to play in the same jersey his father wore and walk with a giant Shaq status looming above him. It will be up to him to live up to his family name and make himself a viable prospect for the 2021 Draft.