The big kid with the famous last name has game, and a trophy to match.
Shareef O'Neal, the skilled 6-foot-10 son of Shaquille O'Neal, capped his high school career at Golden 1 Center on Friday afternoon, leading Crossroads of Santa Monica past Alameda of the Bay Area 59-53 in the CIF State Division II finals.
O'Neal had 29 points, 17 rebounds and five blocked shots, and he matched his father for prep pedigree with a championship each. As the nation's No. 1 recruit, Shaq led Cole High of San Antonio to the 1989 state 3A title, finishing with 19 points, 26 rebounds, three blocked shots and six assists to cap a 36-0 season and a 68-1 run over two seasons.
Shaq averaged 32 points, 22 rebounds and eight blocked shots at Cole as a senior. His son had no assists on Friday, which prompted the Hall of Famer to text The Bee's Ailene Voisin as the game concluded, "That's ironic. lol."
Shaq could not attend the game due to a commitment in Orlando. Shaq also texted Voisin a short selfie video clip screaming for joy after learning of the final score and stats.
When it comes to free throw shooting, there's no competition.
Shareef missed his first two attempts from the line against Alameda, then made 13 of 15 the rest of the way with a nice smooth stroke, including two in the closing seconds to ice it. And O'Neal enjoyed the heckling of fans, something his father also enjoyed in Sacramento.
"That's my favorite part of high school basketball," Shareef said after the game. On winning a state championship, he said, "it's my first and my last, and it feels really good."
He admitted to having "butterflies" early in the game in adjusting to the spacious venue. "I was winded early running up and down this long court," O'Neal said.
He'll have to get used to the pace as O'Neal heads to UCLA via scholarship. He averaged 27.6 points, 17.3 rebounds, 6.1 assists and 3.7 blocks this season. He can make 3-pointers and is more versatile than his father at this stage, if not as strong.
"His upside is tremendous," Alameda coach Cameron Quick said. "I think he'll play more on the perimeter in college. He's a good player."