Shaquille O’Neal: Son Shareef Should Play for John Calipari at Kentucky

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty)

Shareef O'Neal has a lot going for him, basketball-wise.

At just 16, he's 6'9" and has a seven-foot wingspan, he has the blood of an NBA Hall of Famer running through his veins, and he's going to train with some old guy named Kobe Bryant.

So it shouldn't be long before some of the best college basketball coaches in the country start pursuing the forward out of Windward in Los Angeles, who's currently ranked the 51st best college prospect in the class of 2018 by ESPN.

But his dad, TNT analyst Shaquille O'Neal, already knows whom he wants Shareef to play for at the next level: John Calipari of Kentucky.

"My dad actually wants me to lean towards Kentucky," O'Neal told 247Sports"He has a good friendship with the coach there. I know a lot about that school because a lot of kids dream about going there. I like their style of play."

The elder O'Neal said he wants Shareef to lean toward Kentucky because of what Calipari can teach him about self-discipline.

"I've said that," Shaq said on his podcast. "The reason why Kentucky [was] because the potential my father saw in me and him knowing that I was gonna go to the next level, I definitely see it in Shareef. The reason why he trusted me with Dale Brown was because he knew Dale Brown could get me to that next level. Not playing-wise or coaching-wise … discipline-wise."

But that's not the only school Shaq wants his son to consider.

"I would like my son to play for a coach that's going to teach him next-level stuff," O'Neal said. "I have three in mind: Johnny Jones, LSU, because I know him personally, Calipari and the coach from Michigan State … Tom Izzo. I've told my son many times, it's your decision and it is [his] decision. … I need somebody that's gonna curse him out, treat him like a man. Those three guys are the ones I would like him to play for."

Wait, what?

Calipari, I get. Izzo, of course. But Johnny Jones and LSU? I know Shaq played there, but Jones just somehow failed to lead a team with No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons to the NCAA tournament.

Surely there must be an explanation for this.

Oh, there is: "LSU pays very well," Shaq joked. "I'm just playing. I'm just playing."

Shareef O'Neal already has a scholarship offer from USC.