USA TODAY High School Sports is publishing a series called “The Class of 18,” highlighting 18 members of the Class of 2018 whom we will be watching in the coming year. The athletes were selected by the USA TODAY HSS staff.
Name: Shareef O’Neal
School: Crossroads School (Santa Monica, Calif.)
Shareef O’Neal would be the first to admit that he’s more recognizable for being the son of NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal than he is for being one of the top high school basketball players in the country, but after a stellar summer on the toughest circuit in the country, Shareef may be headed in the right direction to change that narrative.
Despite playing alongside the MVP of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League, Bol Bol (24.1 points per game), O’Neal managed to pump in 15.1 points and 6.1 rebounds a game this summer for Cal Supreme. Last season at Crossroads, he averaged 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds a game.
O’Neal, who is ranked No. 18 overall in the ESPN 100, committed to Arizona in April.
“Everyone wants to ask me about my dad,” O’Neal told USA TODAY back in April. “He doesn’t like to take the attention away from me. I’m so used to being his son it’s all natural to me.”
O’Neal’s prowess for throwing down rim-rocking, dad-like dunks seems just as second nature. His best game this summer came during the final EYBL stop in May, a 23-point, five-rebound performance in a 77-74 win over the PSA Cardinals (Pa.).
This past weekend, O’Neal capped off his summer ball career by helping Cal Supreme win the Bigfoot Classic in Las Vegas.
“When he comes, people are pushing me out of the way to get to him. It’s crazy,” O’Neal said. “I’m just trying to be the best player that I can be; I’m a different player than my dad. I just want to be the best me.”