Shareef O’Neal Says He Received Threats After De-Committing From Arizona

In a since-deleted tweet, O'Neal says his decision to attend UCLA next fall has earned him threats.

Shaquille and Shareef O'Neal (R) at the Jordan Brand Future of Flight Showcase.

Image via Cassy Athena/Getty Images

Shaquille and Shareef O'Neal (R) at the Jordan Brand Future of Flight Showcase.

Five-star recruit Shareef O’Neal revealed he has received threats after de-committing from the University of Arizona. O’Neal, who is the son of Basketball Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal, committed to UCLA after Arizona men’s basketball coach Sean Miller was accused of discussing a $100,000 payment to one of his players.

In a since-deleted tweet, O’Neal referenced receiving threats related to his decision to change schools but was not specific about the nature of the threats.

“Most of y’all don’t understand @TheeBWill and I’s haven’t had to make a hard decision like this... and when you make it for you, Half of the people are too blind to accept and they take it to anger. Don’t speak on it if you haven’t lived through it. No need for threats,” O’Neal tweeted Friday, as Larry Brown Sports points out.

Fellow incoming freshman Brandon Williams, who O’Neal referenced in his tweet, announced on Friday that he was de-committing from Arizona and opening himself to recruitment.

Miller has denied any wrongdoing. And while ESPN stands by its report, multiple media outlets have noted potential inaccuracies in ESPN’s story related to the dates Miller would have allegedly discussed a $100,000 payment to Arizona freshman Deandre Ayton.

“Relevant FBI wiretaps in the investigation did not begin until 2017—months after five-star recruit Deandre Ayton had already committed to Arizona in Sept. 2016,” Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated wrote. “The recruitment of Ayton, therefore, would have not been at issue in an intercepted phone call that occurred in 2017.

Thursday, Miller made his first public comments on ESPN’s report and said, “There is an ongoing federal investigation.” He did not take questions and did not go into further detail about the targets of the investigation.

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