Shaquille O’Neal had a dream visit to his alma mater in Baton Rouge, La., with his youngest daughter, but Me’Arah O’Neal took dad’s advice and chose her own path.
The 6-foot-4 junior committed to Florida, giving the Gators two top 33 recruits in the 2024 class. Her older sister, Amirah, played at LSU and Texas Southern.
“I’m just really grateful for it,” Me’Arah O’Neal said of the attention during the recruiting process. “I’m having a lot of fun with it. Just enjoying life.”
She said “versatility” is the one word she’d use to describe her game, pausing to point to her father when asked what the moment meant to her.
“My dad, of course, him being here, and he’s sacrificed a lot for me to play basketball and my mom as well,” Me’Arah O’Neal said. “She’s sacrificed a lot. She’s at pretty much every one of my games.”
Georgia Tech, Baylor, Tennessee, Arizona State and Kentucky were in the running before O’Neal decided between LSU and Florida.
Me’Arah O’Neal said she delayed making the announcement she was headed to Florida because “everyone pretty much thought I was going to LSU.”
Shaquille O’Neal played collegiately at LSU before playing 19 seasons in the NBA. He said he told his daughter the same thing he told his three older children who played college basketball.
“Go where you’re needed, not where you’re wanted,” he said.
Alvia McGill was ranked 16th in the 2024-25 recruiting class by ESPN, 17 spots ahead of Me’Arah O’Neal.
–Field Level Media
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