Four-star recruit Shareef O’Neal, the son of basketball hall of famer Shaquille O’Neal, will miss his freshman season at UCLA after doctors discovered a heart ailment, the school announced on Friday.
“Freshman Shareef O’Neal will be sidelined for the 2018-19 season (medical),” UCLA said in a statement. “He will remain enrolled in class and on the men’s basketball team during this redshirt year. The UCLA men’s basketball program completely supports Shareef and his family as he gets this issue resolved.”
In an interview with TMZ Sports, the 18-year-old said he was undergoing a routine physical when doctors discovered the undisclosed medical issue. He will undergo heart surgery “in the near future.”
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
“Thank God the UCLA medical staff caught it early,” Shareef O’Neal added.
O’Neal told TMZ Sports that he plans to return to basketball in 2019 after redshirting his freshman campaign, and he will attend classes at UCLA in the meantime.
One of five top-100 recruits in UCLA’s 2018 recruiting class, O’Neal averaged 27 points per game as a prep senior, leading Crossroads School in Los Angeles to California’s Division II state championship. The 6-foot-9 power forward is believed to have NBA potential.
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