Four-star Southern California 2018 power forward Shareef O’Neal has committed to the Arizona Wildcats, according to an early-morning tweet from his travel club.
O’Neal, the son of former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, retweeted a congratulations for the decision by his California Supreme team that was posted at 1:44 a.m. Wednesday.
He had also been considering USC, UCLA, Kentucky and his father’s former school, LSU, before it fired coach Johnny Jones.
“My father never said you should do this, you should do that. So I’m gonna let him make his decision,” Shaq told ESPN in January. “LSU, Kentucky, Arizona. He’s getting a lot of letters. A couple of weeks ago, he got his book with all his letters, I got my book with all my letters. It’s a great feeling. But I’m gonna let him make the final decision.”
O’Neal has a different game than his physically powerful father: He’s a 6-foot-9, 200-pound forward who can play facing the basket. He told the Star in Las Vegas last July that Shaq called him a “stretch four or five.”
Shareef and Shaquille visited Arizona for the Wildcats’ Nov. 18 game with Sacred Heart last season. He said in July he wanted to pay attention to how the Wildcats play, and was apparently impressed.
“I’ve been to Arizona for an unofficial visit and the campus was great, the coaches treated us like family,” O’Neal told Rivals recently. “I know they let their bigs shoot and play the perimeter and that’s the kind of thing I like.”
The Cal Supreme team has many ties to the Wildcats. Former UA standout Miles Simon has coached for them, while current guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright played for the club as has incoming UA freshman DeAndre Ayton.
O’Neal also plays during the school year with incoming UA forward Ira Lee at Crossroads School of Santa Monica, Calif., and told the Star he is “like a cousin” of former UA walk-on Quentin Crawford, whose father has been Shaq’s bodyguard and longtime close friend.
O’Neal becomes the Wildcats’ second commitment from the class of 2018, after Emmanuel Akot committed last month. Arizona is also still recruiting for the class of 2017, with at least one spot still available.