Shareef O’Neal to Miss First Season at UCLA After Doctors Discover Heart Issue That Requires Surgery

STUDIO CITY, CA – JANUARY 25: Shaquille O’Neal (L) poses with his son Shareef O’Neal (R) at the Jordan Brand Future of Flight Showcase on January 25, 2018 in Studio City, California. (Photo by Cassy Athena/Getty Images)

Shareef O’Neal, the son of Shaquille O’Neal and a four-star recruit at UCLA, will miss the entire 2018-19 season after doctors discovered a heart ailment that will require surgery.

O’Neal told TMZ Sports he “felt funny” during team workouts this summer so UCLA’s doctors made him wear a heart monitor so he could push a button whenever he wanted to alert them. He said he pressed the button during one summer practice and doctors later discovered the heart ailment that will force him to miss the upcoming season.

He said he expects to return after a medical redshirt season in 2018-19.

“So, the other day during routine checkup, we found a medical issue dealing with my heart,” O’Neal said in the video. “And thank God UCLA medical staff found it early, but causing this I will not be playing this season and I will be a medical redshirt. But during this time off, I’ll be off for a while, I’ll be focusing on academics, my health, of course, and I’ll just be observing to be the best player I can be next year.”

O’Neal was set to join a talented incoming class that’s ranked third, behind Duke and Kentucky, on The Bruins, ranked in most preseason top 25 polls, could challenge for the Pac-12 crown.

O’Neal had originally committed to Arizona but switched to UCLA following an ESPN report linking Sean Miller to a pay-for-play arrangement involving Deandre Ayton.

“Freshman Shareef O’Neal will be sidelined for the 2018-19 season (medical),” the school said in a statement. “He will remain enrolled in class and on the men’s basketball team during this redshirt year. The UCLA men’s basketball program completely supports Shareef and his family as he gets this issue resolved.”

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SOURCE: ESPN, Myron Medcalf