SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Crossroads School (Santa Monica, Calif.) wing Shareef O’Neal was fully aware that when he opted to sign financial aid papers with Arizona instead of a National Letter of Intent last month, he’d opened himself up to scrutiny about his motive.
Unlike the NLI, a player doesn’t need a release with financial aid papers because they aren’t binding.
That means O’Neal can back out on the Wildcats if he so chooses.
The good news for Arizona fans is that O’Neal, who is the son of NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, doesn’t see that happening at this point.
“I’m 100 percent still going to Arizona,” said O’Neal, who scored 22 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in the Roadrunners’ 74-66 loss to Red Mountain (Mesa, Ariz.) Saturday at the American Family Insurance Spalding Hoophall West. “Nothing has happened, so I am still planning to go to Arizona next season. They’re family.”
The Wildcats lost fellow five-star recruit Jahvon Quinerly, a point guard at Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, N.J.), in October after Arizona was named in the FBI investigation when assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson was one of the four coaches from various schools arrested in the probe. Documents allege Richardson bribed a player with $15,000.
The Wildcats’ only other commit for 2018, Crespi Carmelite (Encino, Calif.) point guard Brandon Williams, also opted to sign financial aid papers instead of a NLI last month.
O’Neal will attend Arizona’s game against Alabama tonight.
“I’m looking forward to getting over there and seeing them play in a game against Collin (Sexton),” O’Neal said. “I’m still sticking with the family unless something happens. Whatever happens after that happens, but I’m sticking with them right now.”
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