Shareef O’Neal, Shaquille O’Neal’s son, announced that he will need to undergo heart surgery. Shareef spoke in a video interview to TMZ Sports about his condition, the procedure, his recovery, and his new focuses:
“So, the other day during routine checkup, we found a medical issue dealing with my heart,” O’Neal said in the video. “And thank God UCLA medical staff found it early, but causing this I will not be playing this season and I will be a medical redshirt. But during this time off, I’ll be off for a while, I’ll be focusing on academics, my health, of course, and I’ll just be observing to be the best player I can be next year.”
In a tweet response to the TMZ outlet releasing the video, Shareef expressed his feelings towards the situation.
Blessed to be here living today, one of those moments on the court could’ve been my last… I will be back basketball world .. just wait on me ❤️ I’ll miss you this year but you will always be with me ❤️ https://t.co/YP4zZwg1FF
— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) September 28, 2018
Shareef has had an interesting collegiate basketball road so far. He was initially committed to Arizona, but then the Arizona head basketball coach, Sean Miller, got caught up in an FBI-related scandal. Shareef then moved to UCLA, where he is a freshman this year.
He has been a highly-anticipated addition to the team, but now will have to redshirt his freshman year due to his complications. This recruiting class will hopefully help UCLA win the PAC-12 title and the group of incomings was third ranked in the nation.
Shareef did exceptionally well in high school, leading both of the schools he attended in Los Angeles to success. The strong 6’ 10” power forward was committed in late February earlier this year, ranked around the number 29 spot in the nation for recruits. His fame grew as he became a social media star throughout his high school career, with well over a million followers.
Thankfully, the young star with a great future is keeping his head up as he looks to what’s to come:
“I know it’s an injury that requires surgery, so I’ll be having heart surgery and I’ll be out a couple months and after that I’ll be back… A lot of people are asking if it’s career-ending. The answer is absolutely not. Just a little bump in the road. … During my rehab, I’ll be attending my classes and being a normal student. But that’s what’s going on, and I’d like to thank UCLA, my family, my teammates and everyone who supports me in this decision.”
Featured Image via David Pradel