Shareef O’Neal will miss his freshman season at UCLA after team doctors found a heart issue that required major surgery. The discovery was made during a routine check-up that O’Neal now credits with saving his life.
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
O’Neal underwent successful surgery on Thursday night. He posted a picture on Twitter after surgery, with a message: “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.”
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.— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) December 14, 2018
His Words, typed by Mimi oneal ❤️ pic.twitter.com/yPu2js7M2f
O’Neal will redshirt this season and remain a student at UCLA. He plans to be on the court for the Bruins a year from now.
O’Neal is the son of Shaquille O’Neal, and an impressive player in his own right. A 6’10, 210-pound big man, he entered UCLA as the No. 32 overall player in his high school class, according to ESPN. Whereas dad’s game was pure power, Shareef can run the floor like a wing and has worked to build his jump shot.
“Thank God the UCLA medical staff caught it early,” O’Neal told TMZ. “I’ll be back in no time.”
In the meantime, the Bruins will be counting on Jalen Hill and Cody Riley in the front court, two players who return this season after being arrested in China for the shoplifting incident involving LiAngelo Ball. UCLA was No. 14 in our preseason rankings this summer.