Class of 2018 five-star forward Shareef O’Neal — the son of Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal — committed to Sean Miller’s Arizona Wildcats early Wednesday.
The commitment was announced via Twitter by Shareef’s AAU team, the California Supreme:
O’Neal is ranked 31st in the Class of 2018, according to 247Sports. The 6-foot-9 forward picked Arizona over reported offers from UCLA, California, Southern California and his father’s alma mater LSU.
He is the second Class of 2018 product to commit to Arizona. The other is Emmanuel Akot — a 6-7 five-star small forward at Mt. Pleasant (Utah) Wasatch Academy who is ranked 19th nationally, according to 247Sports.
O’Neal, 6’9″ and 210 pounds, hails from Santa Monica, Calif. He is also ranked the 36th prospect in Scout.com’s 2018 class, and No. 19 in ESPN rankings of the top 60 high school players in the nation.
O’Neal averaged 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds a game last season for Crossroads High School.
If he honors his commitment and signs in November, Shareef’s inclusion in the program will bring added exposure with Shaq being his dad. That can only help in recruiting and the overall appeal of Miller’s operation for other highly rated prospects.
Two members of TNT’s “Inside the NBA” show will now be avid Arizona fans. Charles Barkley has long been a Wildcat advocate, having picked Sean Miller’s program in recent years to win the national title.
Shareef has long arms and he’s bound to add a few more inches. He is a good athlete who runs well and who can explode to the rim in transition. His lift and length allows to finish over the top of the defense.
His ball skills are on the come, but his jump shot looks smooth. He an spot up from 20-feet and convert jump shots, especially off the catch. In addition, he has a solid looking pull-up at the elbow. He’s a productive rebounder in his own area and appears to have a nose for the ball.
It will be interesting to see how big he gets and what position he’ll be going forward. He needs to continue to improve his ball handling against pressure and his decision making.
In the half court set he needs to add to his inside-out skill set. Triple threat game (first step, jab step, etc.) game should be the focus as well as his post skills (foot work/keeping the ball high/go-to moves).
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.