Shareef O’Neal underwent successful heart surgery back in December, and doctors have officially cleared the UCLA freshman to resume basketball activity just over three months later.
O’Neal shared the good news on social media Tuesday and thanked everyone for their support during his recovery.
I wanna thank the people who stuck with me throughout this all… this was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to overcome … I couldn’t have done it without the support I got from all of you
— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) March 26, 2019
O’Neal, the son of basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal, took a medical redshirt season after an electrical problem was discovered in his heart during a routine check in the fall. The surgery was expected to fix the problem and allow him to play at full strength in the future, and it sounds like he will be ready to play his sophomore year at UCLA.
Shareef O’Neal, the son of Shaquille O’Neal, reportedly is in good standing at UCLA despite an allegation of academic transcript tampering by a coach at another school.
The Arizona Wildcats announced on Wednesday that they had suspended assistant coach Mark Phelps indefinitely for an alleged NCAA rule violation. ESPN reported that Phelps is accused of a violation involving the academic transcripts of O’Neal. O’Neal was an Arizona commit before backing away amid the Sean Miller scandal and later choosing UCLA.
Ben Bolch, who covers UCLA athletics for the Los Angeles Times, reported on Twitter Sunday that O’Neal is in good standing at UCLA despite the allegation.
Have been told that Shareef O’Neal remains in good standing at UCLA in the wake of the Arizona situation involving alleged academic fraud tied to an assistant coach.
— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) February 11, 2019
O’Neal has not played this season after undergoing heart surgery in December. The Bruins have been a huge disappointment and are only 12-12 this season.
Shareef O’Neal made it out of his heart surgery successfully on Thursday night, and he had his fans in mind afterwards.
The UCLA Bruin sent a tweet in the evening thanking his fans for all the “love and support,” saying that helped him through his surgery.
I made it,Thank you for all the love and support! I really appreciate all your thoughts and prayers, that’s what helped me through this surgery. I’m on the road to recovery, and I’ll be back soon…better than ever.
His Words, typed by Mimi oneal pic.twitter.com/yPu2js7M2f
— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) December 14, 2018
O’Neal, the son of NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, was part of a highly-touted recruiting class at UCLA, but he is taking a medical redshirt season after an electrical problem was discovered in his heart during a routine check in the fall. The surgery is supposed to correct the issue and help O’Neal play at full strength in the future.
O’Neal has faced this potential scary situation with nothing but optimism. That positive attitude should serve him well throughout his recovery.
Shareef O’Neal was part of UCLA’s highly-anticipated recruiting class for this season, but his ability to contribute on the court was put on hold after doctors discovered he had a heart problem.
Shareef, the son of NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, underwent a routine medical examination in the fall and doctors discovered his heart had an electrical issue that surgery should correct.
The issue with Shareef O'Neal's heart is an electrical problem, but the surgery is supposed to fully correct it.
— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) September 28, 2018
O’Neal is set to undergo the surgery next month. He has been supporting his Bruins teammates all along and sent this great tweet on Wednesday:
It’s crazy to think this whole time I was playing I wasn’t 100%… in about 14 days now I’ll have that extra gear that I’ve never played with before … can’t wait until I’m back fully
— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) November 29, 2018
The prospect of facing heart surgery seems downright terrifying. O’Neal is approaching it with optimism and the belief that he will be even better afterwards.
There are only a handful of people in the world who could even come close to understanding what it is like to be the son of LeBron James, and Shareef O’Neal is one of them. With LeBron Jr. gaining so much popularity lately, O’Neal tried to put things in perspective.
O’Neal, the 18-year-old son of NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, took to Instagram on Thursday to shed some light on how much he can relate to LeBron Jr., aka Bronny.
Bronny … One kid I can relate to a lot … we both kind of have it the same way , being the son of an NBA legend isn’t easy and to get all of this at a young age is a real challenge to adjust to.. Bronny has it a little bit worse than I do, but the difference between him and I, he can back his up at such a young age .. when I would get hate from people in the crowd at 14/15 years old .. I would choke up and wouldn’t play my game and I’m still getting the hang of it .. it’s all a journey … this kid has it all! I’m looking forward to seeing him kill it for the rest of his career ! Love
A post shared by Shareef O'Neal (@shareefoneal) on
“Bronny … One kid I can relate to a lot … we both kind of have it the same way, being the son of an NBA legend isn’t easy and to get all of this at a young age is a real challenge to adjust to,” O’Neal wrote. “Bronny has it a little bit worse than I do, but the difference between him and I, he can back his up at such a young age .. when I would get hate from people in the crowd at 14/15 years old .. I would choke up and wouldn’t play my game and I’m still getting the hang of it .. it’s all a journey … this kid has it all! I’m looking forward to seeing him kill it for the rest of his career! Love.”
Bronny is 14 and has already made an unofficial visit to Duke with some of his AAU teammates. One of his AAU games was cancelled earlier this week due to security concerns over the number of people who were packed into the gym, so that should give you a sense of the unprecedented amount of buzz surrounding him.
O’Neal can certainly relate on many levels, as we saw what happened after he decommitted from Arizona earlier this year. Both Bronny and Shareef obviously have opportunities in life most kids couldn’t dream of having, but their situations have plenty of challenges, too.
Shareef O’Neal says he has received threats from fans since decommitting from the University of Arizona.
A day after ESPN published its report about Sean Miller being caught on a wiretap discussing a payment to a player, O’Neal announced he was decommitting from the Wildcats. A few days later, the high school senior said he had committed to one of Arizona’s Pac-12 rivals, UCLA.
Then on Friday, Brandon Williams, a four-star point guard from Los Angeles, announced that he was decommitting from Arizona as well.
DECISION MADE pic.twitter.com/tyiLscqFiG
— Brandon Williams (@TheeBWill) March 2, 2018
Shortly after Williams announced his decision, O’Neal sent the following tweet about receiving threats.
most of y'all dont understand @TheeBWill and I's situation..you havent had to make a hard decision like this… and when you make it for you, Half of the people are too blind tp accept and they take it to anger. dont speak on it if you havent lived through it. no need for threats
— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) March 2, 2018
A look at O’Neal’s mentions on Twitter showed a fair amount of both support for his decision and negativity from fans. Most Arizona fans kept it tame and stuck to expressing a desire to beat O’Neal’s new team. But of course there were a few who were negative. Many of the fans seem to be upset because they believe O’Neal lost faith in the program after a report emerged that may turn out to have some inaccuracies.
Arizona’s loss turned out to be UCLA’s gain when it comes to Shareef O’Neal.
O’Neal announced on Instagram Tuesday that he has changed his commitment from Arizona to UCLA:
A post shared by Shareef O'Neal (@shareefoneal) on
O’Neal, who is the son of former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal, committed to Arizona last year but backed away over the weekend the day after the Sean Miller wiretap report broke.
He is rated as a four-star recruit and one of the top forwards in California. Shareef currently attends a high school in Los Angeles.