Shareef O’Neal Says Shaq Wanted Him To Stay In School Instead Of Declare For The NBA Draft

A familiar face roamed the halls of the Lakers practice facility on Tuesday, as Shareef O’Neal, the son of Shaq, was in Los Angeles for a pre-draft workout with the Lakers — who don’t own a pick in the 2022 NBA Draft currently but are widely expected to buy a second round pick at some point and will need to fill out a roster spot or two with undrafted prospects.

Shareef, whose college career was delayed by needing heart surgery prior to his freshman season at UCLA, spent the last two years at LSU playing sparingly for the Tigers before deciding to make the leap to the pro level. That decision was not one made with the guidance of his father, as Shareef explained to reporters after his workout Tuesday, noting that they disagreed on him declaring for the draft, with Shaq wanting his son to stay in school.

That’s not a complete surprise given how often Shaq talks about the importance of getting an education, as the elder O’Neal surely wanted his son to finish his degree while also continuing his development. But for Shareef, he felt there wasn’t much more for him at LSU and with limited playing opportunity — 14 games a year ago at 9.2 minutes per game — he decided his best chance was to show what he can do in workouts. We’ll find out Thursday if any team feels he showed enough to get taken in the second round, but if not he could have opportunities to find a Summer League deal to show his skills in Las Vegas and earn a camp invite or G League deal.