Shaq’s Son Shareef O’Neal to Follow in Dad’s Footsteps by Transferring to LSU

The 20-year-old will redshirt at LSU for a season before taking the court

Shareef O'Neal looks on from the bench
UCLA's Shareef O'Neal sits on the bench during a game against USC.
Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Image
By Luis Paez-Pumar / February 15, 2020 5:11 pm

Shareef O’Neal, the son of NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, announced on Friday that he’s ending his tumultuous tenure at UCLA to follow the path laid out by the big man nearly 30 years ago. The younger O’Neal is transferring to LSU, where his father starred in the early ’90s before being selected number one overall by the Orlando Magic in 1992.

In announcing the decision, Shareef acknowledged that he was going to try to follow in his father’s “real big footsteps,” adding that he knows it’ll be a challenge:

I’m ready for it. Great program. Louisiana is a different scene. I’ve been in L.A. most of my life, but I’m ready for it.

The 20-year-old O’Neal had previously played for UCLA, where he was a seldom used role player; in 13 games so far this season, he had played only 10.2 minutes per game, averaging 2.2 points and 2.9 rebounds. He announced his intention to transfer last month before confirming that he would be heading to Louisiana next season.

Prior to this season, O’Neal sat out a year at UCLA with a medical redshirt after having open-heart surgery to fix an anomalous coronary artery, which contributed to his career in Los Angeles never having a chance to fully take off.

Now he’s off to his father’s old stomping grounds, and though they are not the same type of player — at 6’9″, Shareef is more of a power forward than a bruising center in the mold of Shaq — the legacy of the O’Neal name should make him one to keep a close eye on when he suits up for the Tigers.

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