28 Years Later And The O’Neal Family Is Still Breaking Arizona Wildcats’ Hearts

On Saturday, Shareef O’Neal broke the hearts of some Arizona Wildcats fans by de-committing to the University he committed to back in April. The decision was announced a day after ESPN published a story about the FBI’s investigation into Arizona coach Sean Miller.

On Tuesday, the McDonalds All-American snub announced he would be taking his talents to… nowhere! O’Neal is staying home in Cali and will be attending a Ball-less UCLA with five-star big man Moses Brown.

“A lotta people got hate and anger towards me right now.. at the end of the day I did what was best for me and what makes me happy. Shouts to the people who stuck with me and my decision” – Shareef O’Neal

The announcement was made via Instagram, with a great photo of Shareef, his mom and Dad, who wore a UCLA hat with the price tag still on it (just in case Shareef has to make another change — I’m kidding!).

If you are old enough to remember when Shaq dominated the McDonalds All-American game and was heading to LSU to join (really freaking) big man Stanley Roberts and Chris “Steph Curry before Steph Curry” Jackson, then you might remember the first time the O’Neal family had Wildcats cursing and crying.

Flashback to the Pete Maravich Assembly Center on December 8th of 1990. No. 18 LSU — winners of four of their last five games — with a lean and mean Shaq were taking on the red hot Wildcats — winners of their first seven games — with the late Brian Williams (later known as Bison Dele) and late Sean Rooks (future teammate of Shaq in LA).

Shaq dominated the future pros with a career-high 29 points, 14 rebounds, 6 blocks and 5 steals as LSU pulled off a 92-82 upset.

“I tried to dominate the game. I went out and played hard. I got into foul trouble as usual, but we played hard and we played as a team and we won.”

The most memorable moment of the game came in the final seconds when Shaq threw down a dunk and did a dance that would infamously become known as the “Shaq-de-Shaq (final seconds of the following video).”

“If we saw (the dance) on TV, we’d go to (Sean Rook’s) room and taunt him about it,” Arizona guard Matt Othick said. “He took it to heart, you could tell.”

Rooks and the Wildcats did get some revenge during the following season. In a rematch, they held Shaq to 10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 steals, 3 blocks, 0 dunks and celebrated an 87-67 payback victory.

So what did O’Neal think about Rooks outscoring him by 8 points?

“I don’t care how good you play. I’m still a No. 1 draft pick.”

He was right. He went on to become the No. 1 pick, the MDE in the NBA and produce a bunch of kids, including one that just broke the hearts of a new generation of Wildcats.

Source: LA Times