High School Basketball star and son of Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, Shareef O’Neal, has de-committed from the University of Arizona after an FBI investigation found misconduct with recruitment practices.
According to ESPN’s report, Arizona Head Coach, Sean Miller, was picked up on an FBI wiretap discussing paying 19-year-old Arizona Wildcats Center Deandre Ayton $100,000 to sign with the team. Ayton’s lawyer has denied any and all claims of misconduct on the athlete’s behalf saying that the seven footer’s decision to play for the Wildcats was solely based on familiarity with the program and family relationships in Phoenix, according to ESPN.
“At this time I’m opening up my recruitment due to the current events with the UofA Bball team,” said O’neal on Twitter. “I would like to thank all the coaches for recruiting me. At the time my family and I think it’s in my best interest to look at other options to assure my play in the NCAA next year.”
With pressure from the FBI investigation, Miller was not on the sideline for Arizona’s game against PAC-12 competitor Oregon on Saturday. Ayton was active for the game, which Arizona lost 98-93 in Overtime. There are no immediate plans for Miller to resign from his position as head coach.
This investigation has plagued many front offices and coaches throughout the NCAA. Former Lousiville head coach, Rick Pitino, was fired along with the school’s athletic director in October after the investigation found Pitino to have fallen to bribery and corruption. Reports revealed that Pitino was profiting personally from Louisville’s $38 million sponsorship deal with Adidas.
“I wanted to send a personal thank you to coach miller , coach romar , coach phelps , and all the Arizona staff and fans for all the support they’ve shown my family and I,” O’neal said in a separate tweet.
O’neal, who many felt was snubbed from the McDonald’s All-American team, is now able to field offers from other NCAA programs.
I wanted to send a personal thank you to coach miller , coach romar , coach phelps , and all the Arizona staff and fans for all the support they’ve shown my family and I.
— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) February 24, 2018