UCLA's Shareef O'Neal, son of Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal, announces intentions to transfer
UCLA redshirt freshman Shareef O’Neal, the son of Hall of Fame big man Shaquille O’Neal, said Wednesday he’s transferring from the Bruins basketball program. O’Neal announced the news on social media after hinting to a move earlier this week, thanking those that got him here and those that have helped him over the last few years.
“A part of my heart will always be at UCLA figuratively and literally,” he wrote on Twitter. “I’m looking forward to the next chapter, wherever that may be.”
UCLA coach Mick Cronin released a separate statement on Wednesday, saying he met with O’Neal on Tuesday where O’Neal informed him of him decision.
“We fully support his decision and are wishing him all the best,” Cronin said.
Before the two met on Tuesday, O’Neal tweeted a GIF of Bart Simpson lying in bed wide awake as if he were unable to sleep. Read into that how you will.
O’Neal was part of a highly-acclaimed UCLA recruiting class in 2018, but his journey with the Bruins has been a winding one. He missed his entire freshman season after being diagnosed with a heart problem and he underwent open heart surgery to correct it. He was cleared to return to the court last spring.
Since being cleared, O’Neal’s played just a small role for UCLA this season, averaging 2.2 points and 2.9 rebounds coming off the bench.
O’Neal committed to Arizona in high school before backing away from that pledge in the wake of the FBI scandal. Baylor, LSU, Cal, USC, Kansas State and Georgetown also offered him scholarships during his high school recruitment.