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Sean Miller discusses signings of Brandon Williams, Shareef O’Neal

Williams and O’Neal become the first two players of the 2018 class to sign with Arizona

NCAA Basketball: Northern Arizona at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

2018 recruits Brandon Williams and Shareef O’Neal have officially signed with the Arizona Wildcats, UA coach Sean Miller confirmed Thursday.

“It’s exciting to have both of those guys to be joining our family and our future,” he said after Arizona beat Cal State Bakersfield, 91-59.

Williams and O’Neal signed non-binding financial aid papers, not a traditional National Letter of Intent, meaning they can still back out from their commitments before enrolling next fall.

Miller provided insight on his new signees, starting with Williams, who missed his junior season after undergoing knee surgery.

“Brandon didn’t sustain an injury. That’s important to note,” Miler said. “He had more of a genetic thing with his leg that he was able to get fixed. To his family’s credit, he did at a time which is very smart. And he missed a lot of action. He wasn’t on the circuit this spring or summer.”

Miller said Williams is now “100 percent healthy” and has the talent to be McDonald’s All-American. The four-star recruit is the No. 38 player in the 2018 class, per 247Sports.

“What we love the most about him is he can score and be a playmaker,” Miller said. “Great off the dribble, physically strong, can shoot the 3-point shot. The way the game has changed where you put different guards out there at the same time and don’t worry about what position they are, Brandon can be on the court with anybody and we look for him to come in and make an immediate impact.”

Miller said O’Neal is “very different” than his father, NBA Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal.

“Shareef is today’s version of a versatile forward,” Miller said. “Very skilled, can shoot the 3-point shot. I believe as he continues to develop, he’ll be able to go both inside and outside. It’s that hybrid forward, the versatile big wing, that has thrived in our program and I believe in time Shareef will be the same thing.”

The 6-foot-9 forward is the No. 32 player in the 2018 class.

Miller said it’s important for Arizona to “build off” the Williams and O’Neal signings, and said he hopes to sign five players in 2018 when all is said and done.


Follow Rob Leano on Twitter at @RobLeano1