Shareef O'Neal: 5 things to know about the LSU men's basketball forward, Shaq's son

Erik Hall
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

Shareef O'Neal is the son of Shaquille O'Neal, and he looks to follow his dad's success with LSU basketball

It was announced Nov. 18, 2020, that Shareef O'Neal was granted immediate eligibility for the 2020-21 college basketball season after transferring to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from UCLA.

"I was waiting and scared it wasn't gonna happen," Shareef O'Neal tweeted. "Thank you so much." 

Here is some basic information about Shareef O'Neal. 

  • Full name: Shareef Rashaun O'Neal
  • Height: 6 feet, 10 inches
  • Weight: 225 pounds
  • Age: 22 years old
  • Birthdate: Jan. 11, 2000
  • Hometown: Los Angeles, California
  • High Schools: Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California; Windward School in Los Angeles

Here are five more things to know about Shareef O'Neal. 

Is Shareef O'Neal related to Shaq? Of course

Los Angeles Lakers' Shaquille O'Neal, left, and Kobe Bryant talk during a break of Game 6 of the NBA Finals against the Indiana Pacers at the Staples Center on Friday, June 16, 2000.

Shareef O'Neal's parents are Shaquille and Shaunie O'Neal. 

Shaquille O'Neal played at LSU from 1989-92. He was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Year in 1990-91 and 1991-92. 

O'Neal was then drafted No. 1 overall by the Orlando Magic in the 1992 NBA Draft. He then played in the NBA from 1992-2011. 

Shaquille O'Neal won four NBA titles — three with the Los Angeles Lakers (2000, 2001, 2002) and one with the Miami Heat (2006). 

Shaquille O'Neal on TNT:See Shaquille O'Neal heckled for showing up late to TNT pregame show for NBA restart

Shareef O'Neal stats at UCLA

Jan 11, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; UCLA Bruins forward Shareef O'Neal (22) shoots while Southern California Trojans forward Nick Rakocevic (31) defends during the second half at Pauley Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Shareef O'Neal was a member of the UCLA men's basketball team during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. 

He sat out the 2018-19 season as a redshirt. 

During the 2019-20 season, he played 13 games and averaged 2.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 10.2 minutes per game. He also had nine turnovers, four steals, three assists and three blocked shots. 

O'Neal announced on Jan. 22, 2020, that he would be transferring from the UCLA team. In his final UCLA game against Stanford on Jan. 15, 2020, O'Neal had one point and three rebounds in seven minutes. 

Why did Shareef O'Neal have open-heart surgery?

On Dec. 13, 2018, Shareef O'Neal had open-heart surgery to repair a right anomalous coronary artery, according to the Los Angeles Times. It's a heart defect where an artery grew in the wrong place. 

"[It's] an artery that just grows in the wrong place," said Shaunie O'Neal, Shareef's mom, on the show "Basketball Wives" in a quote reported by ESPN. "He was born with it. He could've died from it. They let us know Shareef needed open-heart surgery. That made my heart break."

He was held out of workouts until May 2019. 

“The recovery was hard. It was hard to sit around and do nothing for almost a year,” Shareef O'Neal said to the LA Times. “So the mental side I had crazy thoughts in my head [and] people telling me this and that. I had to overcome. Every time I play, I still think about it. Every time I look in the mirror, I have this giant scar on my chest [that’s] going to be there forever.”

Dec 2, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins forward Shareef O'Neal (22) looks on during warm up before the game against the Loyola Marymount Lions at Pauley Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Shareef O'Neal's scar down his sternum has led to him being called "Zipper Boy," something he joked about on his Instagram

Shareef O'Neal originally committed to Arizona

In April 2017, Shareef O'Neal committed to play for the Arizona Wildcats and Sean Miller. 

But as information came out about Sean Miller's involvement with Christian Dawkins and an FBI wiretap, O'Neal changed his college plans. 

"At this time I am opening up my recruitment due to the current events with the UofA Bball team," O'Neal tweeted, according to The Washington Post. "I would like to thank all the coaches for recruiting me. At the time my family and I think it’s in my best interest to look at other options to assure my play in the NCAA next year."

O'Neal decommitted from Arizona on Feb. 24, 2018, and he announced his commitment to UCLA on Feb. 27, 2018, according to ESPN. 

Shareef O'Neal, UCLA guard Jules Bernard were high school teammates

Oregon's Payton Pritchard, left, reacts as UCLA's Jules Bernard, center, and Jalen Hill, right, as they close the gap on the Ducks in the closing seconds of regulation of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan 10, 2019, in Eugene, Ore. (AP photo/Chris Pietsch)

Shareef O'Neal and Jules Bernard both played high school basketball at Windward School in Los Angeles during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. The boys basketball team captured the 2014-15 CIF Southern Section Championship, and Bernard was named the school's 2015-16 Male Athlete of the Year

O'Neal left Windward to play at Crossroads School for his final two years of high school. The duo played against each other at least once in high school, and O'Neal's Crossroads team won 55-48 in February 2018. 

The duo reunited for a couple of seasons at UCLA during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons before O'Neal transferred to LSU. 

Read more Shareef O'Neal news:

Here is a link to the Shareef O'Neal bio on the LSU basketball website. 

Erik Hall is the lead digital producer for sports with the USA Today Network. You can find him on Twitter @HallErik