Four-star forward Shareef O’Neal, the son of Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, announced his commitment to UCLA on Tuesday, just three days after decommitting from Arizona, sources confirmed to 247Sports.
O’Neal ranks as the No. 9 power forward, No. 9 player from the state of California and the No. 33 overall prospect for the 2018 national recruiting cycle, according to the 247Sports Composite.
The Bruins currently have commitments from five other prospects — five-star Moses Brown, four-stars David Singleton, Jules Bernard and Tyler Campell, as well as three-star Kenneth Nwuba — and rank third nationally, according to the 247Sports Team Composite for 2019.
The 6-foot-9, 205-pound NBA legacy decommitted from the Wildcats after an ESPN report accused head coach Sean Miller of discussing a $100,000 payment with runner Christian Dawkins in order to sign DeAndre Ayton based on proof from the FBI.
FBI wiretaps picked up a telephone conversation between Miller and Dawkins — who the organization was investigating due to alleged basketball corruption — discussing the payment to Ayton, sources with the government’s evidence confirmed to ESPN on Friday.
According to the sources, Miller had multiple conversations with Dawkins — who worked as a runner for ASM Sports agent Andy Miller — regarding Ayton prior to him joining the Wildcats.
“According to people with knowledge of the FBI investigation, Miller and Dawkins, a runner working for ASM Sports agent Andy Miller, had multiple conversations about Ayton. When Dawkins asked Miller if he should work with assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson to finalize their agreement, Miller told Dawkins he should deal directly with him when it came to money, the sources said.
“The telephone calls between Miller and Dawkins were among 3,000 hours of conversations intercepted from Dawkins’ phone by the FBI.”
Ayton, a former 5-star prospect, is a serious contender for the Naismith College Player of the Year award and is projected as a potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, according to NBADraft.net.
The 7-foot-1 Bahaman center is averaging 19.6 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, leading the Wildcats to a No. 14 overall ranking and the top ranking in the Pac-12 standings with three games remaining.
Richardson, who has worked alongside Miller for the last 10 seasons at both Xavier and Arizona, was among the four assistant coaches arrested on Sept. 27 following a two-year FBI investigation into bribery and corruption in NCAA basketball.
The assistant is accused of accepting $20,000 in bribes, as well as paying prospects to sign with Arizona. Additionally, Richardson — who was formally fired by the university on Jan. 11 — would influence Wildcats players to sign with Dawkins and financial adviser Munish Sood — who was also arrested by the FBI following the investigation — in exchange for the money financed by Dawkins.