Me'Arah O'Neal, the youngest daughter of NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal, on Sunday signed a National letter of Intent to continue her career playing college basketball for Florida. She chose the Gators over her father's alma mater, LSU.
The 17-year-old, listed as a 6-foot-3 post player from Episcopal High School in Houston, is ranked No. 33 overall in the 2024 recruiting class, according to the HoopGurlz Recruiting Rankings.
Shaq, a four-time NBA champion, was a legend at LSU who has maintained a close relationship with the school. After taking over Reebok, Shaq's first move was signing Tigers star Angel Reese to an NIL deal.
However, Me'Arah has chosen to go a different route than her father. The proud dad told ESPN he stayed out of her decision.
"What I did tell her is, 'Go where you're needed, not where you're wanted,'" he said, "because if you go where you're wanted and they got other people like you, may take a while.' I want [my kids] to have their own journey, have their own experience."
The other teams that made the younger O'Neal's top eight were Arizona State, Baylor, UCLA, Georgia Tech, Kentucky and Tennessee. For Me'Arah, who visited Florida in September, her decision came down to who she wanted as a coach.
"I went on the Florida visit, and I had a feeling that's where I belonged, and that I was going to be most successful if I went to go play at Florida," she told ESPN. I felt like I connected with Coach Kelly [Rae Finely] more than I connected with any of the other schools that recruited me. She really cares about me not just on the court but off the court. That's important for me."
Some of Shaq's other children have also played college basketball. Shareef played for the UCLA men's team before transferring to LSU and ultimately pursuing a professional career. Shaqir is currently a redshirt sophomore for the Texas Southern men's team. Amirah, who is no longer playing, walked on to the LSU women's team before she transferred to Texas Southern.