In the fall of 1989, a young man walked on campus at Louisiana State University hoping to make an impact on the upcoming college basketball season.
Of course his aspirations were loftier than that. He wanted to one day play in the NBA, win a few championships, and star in Kazaam. But at that point, he was probably focused on the 1989-90 season.
Shaquille O’Neal had no idea that he was the first in a long line of Shaqs or that he would be the namesake for dozens of basketball players for decades to come.
Shaq played his first game on Nov. 15, 1989 against Southern Mississippi. Before that night, nobody named Shaq had ever played Division I college basketball, according to sports-reference.com. And no other Shaq came along for nearly 20 years after that.
20 years where Shaquille O’Neal was the only Shaq ever in basketball.
Or roughly the amount of time it takes for a dominant big man to rise to stardom, inspire couples to make some Shaq babies, and let those Shaq babies grow up to play college basketball.
That first new Shaq was Shaquille Johnson in 2008, who was a four-year player at Marshall and averaged 9.3 points per game.
From there, the Shaq-volution was on. 24 more Shaqs have followed Shaq Johnson, making this, undoubtedly, the Shaq Era of College Shaqsketball.
Breaking down the Shaqs
To properly analyze the Shaqs, I’ve provided a Table of Shaqs for you, listing all of college basketball Shaqs in Shaq-ological order. All stats are from sports-reference.com, so if you have a problem with listed heights and weights, @ them, please.
Table of Shaqs
|Shaquille O'Neal||LSU||1989-92||C||7'1||325||21.6 ppg, 13.5 rpg|
|Shaquille Johnson||Marshall||2008-12||G||6'3||250||9.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.2 apg|
|Shaquille Barber||South Carolina State||2009-12||G||6'3||190||4.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg|
|Shaquille White-Miller||UT Arlington||2010-14||G||5'9||176||4.2 ppg, 3.8 apg|
|Shaquille Boga||Milwaukee/UTRGV||2011-15||G||5'11||170||9.5 ppg, 2.7 apg|
|Shaquille Duncan||Morgan State||2011-14||F||6'9||208||5.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg|
|Shaquille Harris||Mercer||2011-12||G||6'2||190||1.4 ppg|
|Shaquille Stokes||Hawaii/Hofstra||2011-13||G||5'10||175||8.7 ppg, 2.3 apg|
|Shaq Goodwin||Memphis||2012-16||F||6'9||228||10.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg|
|Shaq Shannon||Quinnipiac||2012-14||G||6'1||176||6.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.4 apg|
|Shaq Thomas||Cincinnati||2012-16||F||6'7||205||5.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg|
|Shaquiell Mitchell||South Carolina State||2012-14||G||6'4||190||3.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg|
|Shaquille Cleare||Maryland/Texas||2012-17||F/C||6'8||290||4.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg|
|Shaquille Harrison||Tulsa||2012-16||G||6'4||182||11.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.5 apg|
|Shaquille Hines||UTRGV||2012-16||F||6'7||195||10.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.5 apg|
|Shaquille Johnson||Auburn/Longwood||2012-16||G||6'5||220||10.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.7 apg|
|Shaquielle McKissic||Arizona State||2013-15||F||6'5||200||10.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.2 apg|
|Shaq Preston||Chattanooga/Prairie View A&M||2014-present||G||6'3||194||3.5 ppg, 1.9 rpg|
|Shaqquan Aaron||Louisville/USC||2014-present||G||6'7||170||4.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg|
|Shaquille Doorson||Rutgers||2014-present||C||6'11||275||2.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg|
|Shaquille Morris||Wichita State||2014-present||F/C||6'7||261||12.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg|
|Shaq Calhoun||South Alabama/Tennesee Tech||2015-present||G||6'4||205||8.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg|
|Shaq Carr||Grand Canyon||2016-present||G||6'2||172||4.6 ppg, 2.7 apg, 1.8 rpg|
|Shaquille Benson||Southern||2017-present||C||6'10||260||2.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg|
|Shaquille Evans||Canisius||2017-present||G||6'5||218||0.0 ppg, 0.3 rpg|
|Shaquille Walters||Santa Clara||2017-present||G||6'6||190||4.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg|
|Shaquillo Fritz||Arkansas State||2017-present||F||6'8||202||0.3 ppg, 0.8 rpg|
- South Carolina State and UTRGV are the only two schools to have had multiple Shaqs.
- Only four Shaqs since the original have been listed as centers. In fact, the most common position for Shaq is actually guard (16 Shaqs).
- The average Division I Shaq is 212 pounds.
- The average Shaq scoring output is 6.7 points per game
- 2012 appears to have been the best year to enter college as a Shaq. Those Shaqs posted 8.7 points per game during their careers and five of the nine Shaqs averaged double-figures.
- The average Division I Shaq is 6’5 and Shaquille O’Neal is the only Shaq listed at 7 feet or taller.
- The American Athletic Conference is the League of the Shaq. From 2012-16, the AAC had three Shaqs. When they graduated, sensing a lack of Shaqs, the AAC invited Wichita State, which has Shaquille Morris.
- There are 10 active Shaqs in college basketball.
- Shaqs peaked in 2014, when there were 11.