Quick Bit: Shareef O’Neal wants to make his way into the NBA — a position he said he doesn’t share with his father.
Shareef O’Neal is just a day away from waiting to hear his name called in the 2022 NBA Draft. But his decision to test the NBA waters isn’t one that sat well with his father, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal.
The younger O’Neal, a 6-10, 215-pound power forward. revealed how he and his father butted heads on his decision to leave college basketball and test the NBA waters. Following a workout with the Lakers — where Shaq won three NBA Finals — Shareef O’Neal on Tuesday revealed what his father thought of his decision.
“We kind of bump heads about this process,” O’Neal said in a video news conference.
He wanted me to stay in school. I wanted to better myself through this.
“He knows I’m working out with teams. But I’m not going to lie, we ain’t talked about this. I’m kind of just going through it. He didn’t do any pre-draft workouts; he just got straight on the (Orlando Magic), so it’s a different grind.”
So, he didn’t want me to do this, and I know he probably doesn’t want me saying this, but sorry. We’re both grown, we’ll get past it.
Shaq, who left LSU after three seasons to turn pro in 1992, eventually returned to earn a bachelor of arts degree in general studies in 2000, by which time he was already a six-time NBA All-Star. He is currently listed as having a net worth of $400 million.
Shareef O’Neal, the No. 41 overall recruit in the 2020 class, underwent open-heart surgery in December 2018, the year before he played a single season at UCLA. There, he played in 3 games, averaging 10.2 minutes per game. He transferred to his father’s alma mater, LSU, the next season.
There, he combined to play 24 games over two seasons, averaging 11.4 minutes, one field goal and 2.8 points per game. For his entire collegiate career, Shareef O’Neal played 37 games across three seasons, averaged 11 minutes, three rebounds and 2.6 points per game.
Despite his low production, Shareef O’Neal said he got all he could out of the college game and was ready to move on.
“I felt like in college I wasn’t getting enough opportunity. I wasn’t feeling like myself in college,” he said. “(The invite_ kind of opened a lot of doors for me. … I feel like it really brought me back and kind of showed a little bit what I can do. And once I started getting calls from teams to work out, I was like, ‘Man, this is what I want to do.’ I mean I’m here, it’s right in front of me, so just go for it. So I continued to work.”
Shareef O’Neal acknowledged a difference between his father and himself, especially as it relates to their pro readiness coming out of college. That said, Shareef O’Neal remained committed to sticking through the NBA draft process, despite his dad’s advice against it.
“He didn’t like that idea at all,” O’Neal said of his father.
It sucks that he didn’t like that idea, but I’m a grown man, I’m 22 years old, I can make my own decisions. It was right in front of my face. I’m not backing up from it. I’m going to go get it if I see it.
“That’s just how I’m built. I take everything the same way. I took my heart surgery the same way. Being cleared was right in front of me, being healthy was right in front of me, and I went for it.”
Whether he can develop an identity that doesn’t involve his Hall of Fame father remains to be seen.
“I know it’s always going to be there, the comparison,” O’Neal said. “Every kid is going to get compared to their dad who does the same thing as them. So that’s going to be there. It doesn’t bother me.”
If Shareef O’Neal isn’t drafted into the NBA, he could still play professionally in either the Summer League or G League. He could also take his talents to international leagues if he is set on playing professionally as a career.
Originally found on Sporting News Read More