NBA draft prospect Sharif O’Neal may want to follow in his famous father’s footsteps, but that doesn’t mean his old man is ok with his professional plan. After training with the Los Angeles Lakers, O’Neal revealed that his father, Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, did not want him to be drafted after his freshman year of college.
“We’re kind of bumping heads on this process,” the younger O’Neill says. said in the press conference video. “He wanted me to stay at school. I wanted to improve myself through it. He knows that I work with teams. But I won’t lie, we didn’t talk about it. He didn’t train for the draft, he just [Orlando Magic]so it’s a different grind.”
Elder O’Neill is right. Sharif only played 37 games in his three seasons at UCLA and LSU. In college, he only averaged 2.6 points per game and required heart surgery while attending UCLA. Add all that and O’Neal is expected to go undrafted on Thursday. However, he felt he had taken everything he could out of college.
“He didn’t like the idea at all,” O’Neill added of his father. “It sucks that he didn’t like the idea, but I’m a grown man, I’m 22, I can make my own decisions. It was right in front of my face. It. I’m going to get it if I see it. That’s the way I’m made. I perceive everything the same. I had heart surgery the same way. Cleansing was right in front of me, being healthy was right in front of me, and I went for it.
“I don’t back down from anyone. I know that he is an NBA legend, I know that he is my father, but it was right in front of me, I had to follow him. So whether he likes it or not, it’s not. really get in the way of me doing what I want.”
If O’Neal is not drafted, he will have other paths to professional basketball than college. He can play in the Summer League or the G League if he wants to stay in the United States, or he can play overseas and try to expand his game into foreign leagues. Many players have moved from Europe or the G-League to the NBA, so O’Neal’s chances of playing in the league are still very high. But his father is right. Given his limited college record, he’s up for an uphill battle at this point in his career.