Shareef O'Neal at LSU

Shareef O'Neal tried on an LSU jersey during his visit to the school. He posted photos on his Twitter account (@SSJreef) with the caption #notcommitted.

UCLA basketball transfer Shareef O'Neal is coming to LSU.

News of O'Neal's pending transfer came directly from the man himself in an interview with Sports Illustrated's Robin Lundberg while the 6-foot-9 forward took a break from enjoying the opening night of NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago.

The former four-star recruit in the 2018 recruiting class announced Jan. 22 that he was leaving UCLA and entering the NCAA transfer portal.

He first stirred the rumor mill about joining the Tigers on Feb. 1, when he posted several photos of himself in an LSU uniform in front of a giant tiger head mural on Twitter.

While no official word of the transfer has been released from the NCAA or LSU, O'Neal declared it a "done deal." 

His decision to continue his collegiate career in Baton Rouge will come with plenty of hype due to his lineage —  his dad is Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame member and Tigers legend Shaquille O'Neal.

"Real big foot steps (to follow), but I'm ready for it," O'Neal told Lundberg. "Great program. Louisiana is a different scene. I've been in L.A. most of my life, but I'm ready for it."

The younger O'Neal visited LSU the weekend of Jan. 31, taking in the game with Ole Miss and spending time with the Tigers’ coaches and players before returning to the West Coast.

He told 247Sports when he announced his departure from UCLA that he would continue to attend classes there until the quarter ends March 20.

The 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward will enroll at LSU in June, but it's not yet known how long he'll have to sit out as a transfer.

It's likely that he'll request a waiver from the NCAA to try and become eligible for the start of the 2020-21 season in November.

A four-star recruit, O'Neal played at the Crossroads School in Los Angeles and originally committed to Arizona.

He eventually signed with UCLA, but missed what would have been his freshman season after having a surgical procedure for a heart condition.

O'Neal, who was ranked by 247 Sports as the No. 41 overall prospect nationally and No. 8 power forward in the 2018 recruiting class, was cleared to resume playing last March.

In 13 games for UCLA, he averaged 2.2 points and 2.9 rebounds while playing 10.2 minutes a game.

In a 75-61 loss at Notre Dame on Dec. 14, O'Neal had eight points and 11 rebounds.

Advocate sportswriter Sheldon Mickles contributed to this report.

Check out more of O'Neal's interview with Sports Illustrated — which includes him discussing his final text message from Kobe Bryant — here.


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