Me’Arah O’Neal, Shaq’s youngest child, commits to Florida women’s basketball team

Me'Arah O'Neal is the youngest of Shaquille O'Neal's six children.

Me’Arah O’Neal, the youngest child of Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, signed a letter of intent on Sunday to play women’s basketball at the University of Florida.

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O’Neal, 17, a 6-foot-4 post player, chose the Gators over her father’s alma mater, defending women’s national champion LSU, ESPN reported. Other finalists were Arizona State, Baylor, UCLA, Georgia Tech, Kentucky and Tennessee, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

She announced her decision live on ESPN’s “SportsCenter Next” Instagram, according to Bleacher Report.

“I went on the Florida visit (in September), and I had a feeling that’s where I belonged,” O’Neal said. “And that I was going to be most successful if I went to go play at Florida. I felt like I connected with Coach Kelly (Rae Finley) more than I connected with any of the other schools that recruited me. She really cares about me not just on the court but off the court. That’s important for me.”

Florida has made 16 NCAA tournament appearances and reached the Elite Eight in 1997, according to ESPN.

Me’Arah O’Neal, who lives in Houston with her mother, Shaunie Henderson, and plays for Episcopal High School, learned how to dribble a basketball by watching her older siblings when she was 3 and living in Orlando, Florida, the cable sports network reported.

O’Neal’s brother Shareef, who most recently played in the NBA’s G League, played college basketball at UCLA before transferring to LSU, ESPN reported. Another brother, Shaqir, plays for Texas Southern. Her older sister, Amirah, walked on at LSU before transferring to Texas Southern.

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