Video: Shareef O'Neal highlights
It's 11 days until the MaxPreps Holiday Classic and, to commemorate, let's look back at the year 2011.
That's the year one of the greatest players in NBA history, Shaquille O'Neal, retired from basketball. He was a 15-time All-Star, 4-time NBA champion, 3-time NBA finals MVP and he scored 28,596 points (sixth all-time), grabbed 13,099 rebounds (14th) and blocked 2,732 shots (eighth).
His rap and movie careers made him a pop culture figure, while earning nicknames "Diesel," "Shaq Fu," "Superman," and "Big Daddy," among others.
Young players with similar body dimensions as O'Neal, who played at 7-foot-1 and 325 pounds, are often to referred to as "Baby Shaq."
What does a quick O'Neal biography have to do with the MaxPreps Holiday Classic?
Because the real "Baby Shaq" is playing in the 13th annual event, which runs Dec. 26-30 in beautiful Palm Springs, Calif. See 12 days until MPHC story
The son of "Big Daddy," Shareef O'Neal
is a 6-8 sophomore for Windward (Los Angeles)
, which has started the season at 2-3. In his first game of 2015-16, O'Neal scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in 28 minutes of his team's 74-67 loss to Dorsey.
Last season in 27 games, he averaged 3.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.4 blocks per game for the 22-11 Wildcats, who won small-school state titles in 2009 and 2011.
"Baby Shaq," who actually has earned the nickname "The Little Aristotle," has a longer and leaner frame than his pops and is considered a Division I prospect despite his modest freshman numbers. View more images of Shareef O'Neal in action
He is ranked a four-star recruit — the number 46 recruit nationally in his class — according to 247Sports
. He already has offers from UCLA and USC. 247Sports predicts he'll land at UCLA.
Windward is part of the MPHC's top 16-team Open Division bracket, which includes nationally ranked Chino Hills and Moreau Catholic, along with previously ranked Bentonville and top recruit Malik Monk. See MPHC Open Division bracket
Windward, which also features top junior Jalen Harris
, opens against Jonesboro (Ga.)
on Dec. 26 at Rancho Mirage. Jonesboro has the top-rated junior in the 117-team, 11-division tournament in James Walker, Jr.
, a 6-5 guard.