Shaquille and Shaunie O’Neal‘s son, Shareef, will endure heart surgery after UCLA medical officials noticed an “issue dealing with” the vital organ, TMZ reports. The UCLA basketball player will sit on the bench this upcoming season to recover.
“I’ll be focusing on my academics, my health of course and I’ll just be observing to be the best player I can be next year,” he said. In an interview with the entertainment website, the 18-year-old said the procedure is “not career ending” but he’s disappointed that he will have to sit out his debut season for the UCLA Bruins.
“During my rehab, I’ll be attending my classes and being a normal student,” he said, thanking the medical officials, his family, and fans for their support. “I’m a little down, I felt like I was at my peak of basketball just going into my freshman year and coming out of the state championship at high school, I felt I was at the top of my game right now, trying to get better, get stronger but then this happened.” According to 247Sports, Shareef ranked No. 8 on the power forward list for the country’s high school basketball students.
Shareef furthered his comments on social media, reassuring fans that he’s in a good space. The reason as to why he will undergo surgery is still unknown. “Blessed to be here living today, one of those moments on the court could’ve been my last… I will be back basketball world.. just wait on me,” he wrote. “I’ll miss you this year but you will always be with me.”
Blessed to be here living today, one of those moments on the court could’ve been my last… I will be back basketball world .. just wait on me I’ll miss you this year but you will always be with me https://t.co/YP4zZwg1FF
— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) September 28, 2018