As LSU's men's basketball team saw its season come to an end with a second-round loss to Michigan in the NCAA tournament on Monday, Shareef O'Neal, the son of Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal, revealed he has been sidelined by a stress fracture in his foot:
Shareef O’Neal @SSJreef
I didn’t play these last few months due to a stress fracture in my foot . I wanted to hoop so bad .. if you know me you know I hate sitting out ,I know what I gotta do this off season.. I gotta get better , I gotta stay in the gym.. ILL SEE YALL SOON. I gotta work hard as ever .
The younger O'Neal, who started his collegiate career on the UCLA Bruins, played just 10 games for the Tigers this season.
He averaged 2.8 points and 4.4 rebounds during that span and has not appeared in a game since a Feb. 3 loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide.
O'Neal was a 4-star prospect and the No. 41 overall player in the 2018 recruiting class, per 247Sports' composite rankings, but he played just 13 games for the Bruins last season. He also missed his first season because of an anomalous coronary artery that required open-heart surgery.
His mother, Shaunie O'Neal, said he "could've died" from it.
While living up to his father's reputation as a four-time NBA champion and three-time NBA Finals MVP may be a tall ask, O'Neal was adamant he is going to "work as hard as ever" this offseason.
That would seem to suggest he will be a contributor for the Tigers in 2021-22 as they look to build on this season's appearance in the NCAA tournament. They pushed the top-seeded Wolverines but ultimately fell 86-78 in a hard-fought, back-and-forth contest.
LSU has not made the Final Four since 2006, and O'Neal will surely try to help change that if he is healthy and ready to go next season.