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Give Shareef O’Neal credit. His father Shaquille O’Neal, who stands a towering 7’1, casts a long, long shadow, and it can’t be easy for Shareef to try and establish his own basketball identity when so many have had such high expectations for him based on his father’s legendary NBA career.
O’Neal the Younger first began to follow in his father’s footsteps when he transferred from UCLA to LSU, Shaq’s alma mater, back in 2020. And now, Shareef is trying to take his game to the next level, just like Dad. He has declared for the 2022 NBA Draft, though some had mistakenly included him on a Draft withdrawal list.
LSU junior Shareef O'Neal – son of Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal – is now eligible to be selected in the 2022 NBA draft, the league informed teams. A prior list of withdrawals mistakenly included O'Neal. The 6-foot-10 prospect stays in Draft and has upcoming team workouts.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 6, 2022
Maybe those people were trying to tell him something.
Though a respectable 6’9, Shareef does not have the college stats or on-court presence to justify this move. In two seasons with the Tigers, he has played in just 14 games and averaged 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds. He missed over a dozen games over that time period due to injury, and he missed the entire 2018-2019 season with the Bruins because of a heart condition that required surgery.
We don’t blame Shareef for wanting to capitalize on his father’s storied career and lovable personality. Perhaps he ought to join Pops for “Take Your Son to Work Day” at Inside the NBA. He may have inherited some of Shaq’s on-screen charisma, and he could ride that into a long and lucrative career behind a microphone.
Because Shareef O’Neal probably doesn’t have what it takes for a career in the NBA.