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Shareef O’Neal, Shaq’s son, transfers out of UCLA

Shareef O'Neal

Shareef O’Neal, son of NBA Hall of Famer and Los Angeles Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal, announced on Wednesday that he would be leaving the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball program.

O’Neal, who sent out a tweet to explain his decision, mentioned his special admiration and respect for both former head coach Steve Alford and current head coach Mick Cronin.

“A part of my heart will always be at UCLA figuratively and literally. I’m looking forward to the next chapter, wherever that may be,” Shareef O’Neal furthered in the statement.

O’Neal’s mention to his heart is in reference to the heart condition that he was diagnosed with in the fall of 2018, for which he underwent surgery. The ailment has undoubtedly stunted the start of his collegiate career, as he will likely look to find a new home.

The 20-year-old big man has played in 13 games this season for the Bruins and averaged just 10.2 minutes on a nightly basis. His best individual showing came on Dec. 14 against Notre Dame when he tied his career high in scoring eight points while setting a career-best 11 rebounds.

In totality, however, he had little impact to the Bruins — averaging just 2.2 points and 2.9 rebounds per contest while shooting only 32.1 percent from the floor overall.

In 2017, Shareef O’Neal had committed to play at the University of Arizona, but he withdrew his commitment in the wake of a scandal surrounding head coach Sean Miller. Whether O’Neal would consider returning to the Wildcats or heading elsewhere in the Pac-12 is too early to speculate upon, but the former four-star high school recruit is likely to be heavily sought-after.