Among the many dominoes that fell in the wake of the Arizona Wildcats getting swept up in the FBI bribery scandal, as well as being accused of NCAA violations that have yet to be proven, was the loss of a pretty high-profile recruit with an even more high-profile parent.
Now Shareef O’Neal is looking for a third college team after announcing Wednesday he was transferring from UCLA.
Next chapter... thank you ❤️ pic.twitter.com/EzHd6zRnuE— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) January 23, 2020
The 6-foot-9, 215-pound O’Neal had originally signed a non-binding financial aid agreement with Arizona in November 2017 but reopened his commitment in February 2018, just days after ESPN reported that UA coach Sean Miller was caught on a wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to then-freshman Deandre Ayton. That report has never been substantiated, as to this day no such wiretap has been made public.
O’Neal—the son of NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal—eventually signed with UCLA but had to sit out the 2018-19 season after needing surgery to correct a heart defect. This season as a redshirt freshman he was averaging 2.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in just 10.2 minutes per game for the Bruins, appearing in only 13 of their 18 games with no action in two of five Pac-12 contests.