Shaquille O'Neal's son, Shareef, is a target for Cal basketball's 2018 recruiting class and he appears to be a very talented prospect, so the Bears have jumped into the mix by offering a scholarship.
Here is where the Los Angeles (Ca.) Windward product ranks among the major recruiting services:
- ESPN: 4 stars, 51st overall
- Scout: 5 stars, 20th overall
- Rivals: 4 stars, 70th overall
- 247sports: 5 stars, 15th overall
O'Neal is 6'9 and 205 pounds, so he isn't anywhere near as big as his father, and their respective games are not too similar either.
O'Neal is another one of those new-age big men that can run the floor and pick and pop the mid-range jumper that is becoming more and more popular in basketball at all levels nowadays, as opposed to the low-post, back-to-basket big men that dominated the NBA for such a long time like Shaq.
Here is a highlight reel of O'Neal playing for his AAU team, California Supreme.
He runs the floor well and displays solid technique on his mid-range jumper. He would be an intriguing talent to bring into the fold at Cal. O'Neal will only be a junior next season, so there is still plenty of room for him to grow as a player, and I'm sure his plans to work out with his father's good friend, Kobe Bryant, won't hurt either.
So, what programs are Cuonzo and co. looking at competing against if they want to secure his commitment? Among the suitors are his father's alma mater, LSU, along with Kansas State, Baylor, Washington State, USC, UCLA and Arizona.
One school not on the list, but of great interest to Shareef and his father, is Kentucky. A Sea of Blue recently wrote a story about O'Neal and Kentucky which included this quote:
"My dad actually wants me to lean towards Kentucky," Shareef said. "He has a good friendship with the coach there. I know a lot about that school because a lot of kids dream about going there. I like their style of play."
O'Neal is a good prospect, as you can tell by his rankings, but rankings in the teens are pushing it as far as whether or not Kentucky would be willing to sign you. Don't they thumb their noses at prospects outside of the top 10?
In all seriousness, the Wildcats would be tough to beat if they jump in with an offer for little O'Neal, but there is one thing Cal has going for it that Kentucky does not.
The Bears definitely have better history at sending big men named Shareef to the NBA after a successful college career/season.