UCLA Basketball: Bruins get huge commitment from Shareef O’Neal

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 21: Aaron Holiday
KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 21: Aaron Holiday /

After decommiting from Arizona amid their recent troubles, 4-star power forward Shareef O’Neal, son of Shaq, has committed to the UCLA basketball team.

If I was so inclined, I would cover this entire article with “BOOMS”. Why is that? Because the UCLA basketball team just landed their sixth commitment for the 2018 class as 4-star power forward Shareef O’Neal (Crossroads/Los Angeles, CA) is heading to Westwood.

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At 6-9, 205 lbs., O’Neal was a big target for the Bruins last year and looked as if UCLA was a front runner for his services. Unfortunately, O’Neal had decided that he wanted to take his talents to the desert.

Those plans have since changed due to the turmoil that the Arizona basketball program is currently going through. Last Friday, the college basketball world was shook when it was revealed that the FBI had proof, via wiretap, that Arizona head coach Sean Miller discussed a $100K payment to current Wildcat big man DeAndre Ayton.

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Because of all this, O’Neal had decommitted from Arizona over the weekend. What is their loss is UCLA’s gain as the big man committed to the Bruins on Tuesday afternoon.

Getting O’Neal is a big deal, but his commitment boosts UCLA’s already impressive 2018 recruiting class. O’Neal is the fourth 4-star rated player to commit to the Bruins behind SG David Singleton III, SG Jules Bernard and  PG Tyger Campbell. UCLA is also bringing in 3-star C Kenny Nwuba and 5-star C Moses Brown.

Currently, UCLA has the no. 3 recruiting class in the country per 247Sports composite rankings behind Duke and Oregon.

So what is UCLA getting with O’Neal? A skilled big man that knows how to work his way around the rim.  Like his Shaq-tastic father, he is a big-time rebounder, can change the direction shots and has an easy time finding the rim. He also has decent ball handling skills and can find the open man when he is looking for help.

O’Neal is able to create space underneath, but like his unlike his dad, he is slimmer and more athletic, making him in an ideal power forward that can get up and down the court in head coach Steve Alford‘s up-tempo style of basketball.

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O’Neal has given a boost to an already spectacular class. Despite UCLA’s recent woes on the court, recruiting seems to be handling itself. With the class UCLA is bringing in, hopefully it can do as well (or better) than the Lonzo Ball-TJ Leaf-Ike Anigbogu class form last season.

Welcome to Westwood, Shareef!