No. 22 – UCLA Bruins
Position: Power forward
League: Pac-12 Conference
Born/Date of Birth: January 11, 2000
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California, United States
Listed height: 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)
Listed weight: 215 lb (98 kg)
High school: Windward School (Los Angeles, California)
Crossroads School (Santa Monica, California)
College: UCLA (Redshirt)
Shareef Rashaun O'Neal (born January 11, 2000) is an American college basketball player for the UCLA Bruins of the Pac-12 Conference. He attended Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California. As a senior forward, he was ranked among the top high school basketball players of his class. O'Neal began playing with Windward School in his hometown of Los Angeles. He is the son of Hall of Fame player Shaquille O'Neal.
Born in Los Angeles, O'Neal is the son of former National Basketball Association (NBA) player Shaquille O'Neal and Shaunie O'Neal. He has two older half-siblings, Taahirah, and Myles, and three younger siblings: Amirah, Shaqir, and Me'ara. Despite his father's basketball fame, Shareef grew up without a passion for the game and preferred skateboarding. His interest in basketball grew after he had a disappointing performance at a middle school Amateur Athletic Union game and was prompted to "prove everybody wrong" on the court. At age 13, O'Neal began training regularly and was able to dunk.
High school career
Starting in his freshman season, O'Neal played basketball for Windward School in Los Angeles at the forward position. His highlight videos immediately helped him gain popularity on the Internet and appeared in The Washington Post. However, he received limited playing time because the team's six seniors earned the most minutes. Head coach Steve Smith viewed O'Neal's first season with Windward as a "learning year" and expected him to assume a larger role in the following season. At the end of the season, he was averaging 3.7 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. In May 2015, O'Neal received a scholarship offer from USC, his first from an NCAA Division I program. In the following months, he had additional offers from Baylor, LSU, UCLA, and Kansas State.
O'Neal remained with Windward as a sophomore and saw significant improvement. In October 2015, at a tournament in Fairfax High School that featured many top high school teams in the nation, O'Neal scored 23 points in a loss to Bishop Alemany. O'Neal, in December, drew attention from scouts at the MaxPreps Holiday Classic despite his team's struggles. He became known as a versatile swingman with ball-handling, shooting, and defending skills.
On June 29, 2016, the Los Angeles Times announced that O'Neal would transfer to Crossroads School in Santa Monica. He joined the team expected to take a leading role with top high school recruit Ira Lee. On January 6, 2017, O'Neal scored 15 points in a 54–50 win over Brentwood. In a 44–80 loss to Mater Dei on February 17, he scored 20 points in a matchup with Bol Bol, son of former NBA player Manute Bol.
In April 2017, O'Neal committed to play college basketball for Arizona. On February 24, 2018, he decommitted from Arizona immediately following allegations by ESPN that FBI wiretaps had intercepted phone conversations between Arizona coach Sean Miller and an agent discussing paying $100,000 to ensure star player Deandre Ayton signed with Arizona. Because he signed a nonbinding financial aid agreement with Arizona instead of a formal letter of intent, he did not require a release from Arizona to seek out a new school. O'Neal verbally committed to UCLA on February 27, but he did not sign a National Letter of Intent during the signing period that ended on May 16. He signed with the Bruins in August.
During practices over the summer, O'Neal "felt funny", and was given a heart monitor by doctors to wear. On September 28, 2018, UCLA announced that he would miss the 2018–19 season but remain enrolled at the school as a medical redshirt. O'Neal was expected to undergo surgery to address the heart condition that was diagnosed by the UCLA medical staff. He stated that it was not career-ending. On March 26, 2019, he announced he was medically cleared to return to the team.
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