After spending two seasons at Louisiana State University, Shareef O'Neal entered NCAA's transfer portal.
The junior forward and the son of NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal is on the move again, seeking his third school in four years. Shareef first signed with UCLA but redshirted after undergoing heart surgery. In 13 appearances during the 2019-20 season, he averaged 2.2 points and 2.9 rebounds.
O'Neal then took his talents to his father's alma mater but once again faced major setbacks. In only 10 appearances, mostly due to foot injuries, O'Neal put up 2.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. This past season was no different -- 2.9 points and 2.1 rebounds in 14 appearances.
Once a great high school prospect is yet to prove his worth at the collegiate level. But according to his father, the talent is still there.
"Giannis with a jump shot"
Coming out of Crossroads School, Shareef was a top 50 recruit. He was ranked No.32 by ESPN and received offers from numerous Division I programs.
Injuries and health problems have undoubtedly derailed his progress. But at 6-10, 225 pounds, O'Neal still possesses physical gifts that could one day turn him into a quality NBA player.
That's how most people feel about Shareef. But Shaq went a step further.
"What people don't know is - I know I have a Giannis with a jump shot," O'Neal said on The Big Podcast. "That's how I raised him. I have a Giannis Antetokounmpo with a jump shot, but people don't know. So, hopefully he gets to go to a place where he can showcase his talent so people can see who he really is."
He's too nice
Good genes are there, and assuming he can find some consistency, it still isn't too late for Shareef to lay the foundations for a successful professional career. According to his father, a slight change in approach would accelerate that process.
"He just has to be a little meaner," Shaq said. "I taught him how to be too nice. In this game, like there's many times coaches tell me to do something like, I'm not doing that, for what? You want me to set a pick and roll when this dude's on me to get a guard open for jump shot, not (happening)."
"I told him, I said 'Son, every now and then it's okay to disobey the rules, and you know be nice, respectfully.'"
Shaquille O'Neal, The Big Podcast
A gentle giant, going into his senior year, still has time to live up to his father's name. But it doesn't seem like Shaq is pressuring him to do it. He just believes in his son; perhaps bordering on delusion. Let's hope Shareef can prove he's right.