Me'Arah O'Neal
The 6'4 guard/forward has officially signed to the Florida Gators and will be headed to Gainesville in the fall of 2024. (UAA)

NBA Legend’s Daughter, Me’Arah O’Neal, Commits to Florida Hoops

Four-time NBA champion Shaquille O’Neal’s youngest child, Me’Arah O’Neal, signed her National Letter of Intent to the University of Florida women’s basketball program.

The four-star recruit chose Florida over her father’s alma mater and one of the best women’s programs in the country, LSU.

Teams on the Table

Me’Arah gained attention for her versatile game from many top programs. Standing at 6-foot-3, Me’Arah can shoot and handle the ball like a guard but has the height and post moves of a forward. Ranked No. 33 in the class of 2024 recruits, she received offers starting in August of 2021, and announced her top eight schools in August 2023. Along with Florida and LSU, Me’Arah’s top schools included Arizona State, Baylor, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, UCLA and Tennessee.

Shaq Stays Hands Off

Two of Shaquille’s other children have played at his alma mater. Me’Arah’s brother Shareef played for UCLA and LSU and her sister Amirah played for LSU and Texas Southern. Despite this, Shaq left it up to Me’Arah to make her decision. He told her to “go where you’re needed, not where you’re wanted. Because if you go where you’re wanted and they got other people like you, may take a while.”

Me’Arah’s mother, Shaunie Henderson, also commented about her daughter’s decision: “Pick somewhere where they want you just as much as you want to be there.” For Me’Arah, Florida is that place.

Me’Arah Shares Deciding Factors

After sharing her commitment to Florida, Me’Arah answered questions about the decision. She told reporters that she felt she belonged at Florida, and she could tell Coach Kelly Rae Finley truly cared about her, both on and off the court. Me’Arah acknowledged that Florida was “family oriented” and that Kelly Rae “is amazing, I love her. The coach staff, the players- I’m really excited to go there.”

Her commitment also came days after ESPN’s No. 16 recruit, Alivia McGill.

About Ainsley Davis

Ainsley Davis is a second-year sports journalism student at the University of Florida.

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