GRAPEVINE, Texas — After being introduced to the NCAA convention as Dr. Shaquille O'Neal, the four-time NBA champion talked about the importance of education, saying in the age of one-and-done basketball players that they should have to stay in school at least three years before going pro, such as the rule for NCAA football players.
"A lot of guys do it because of their financial situation and they need to do it," O'Neal said. "That's the only way to provide a better means for their family. So when you look at it from that aspect, I understand it."
For players who do leave early, O'Neal's advice is to make sure they go back and finish their education — not to make more money, but to know how to keep what they've made.
O'Neal, who called his three years as an LSU player the best time of his life, recalled spending "$1 million in about 30 minutes" after he got his first check as the NBA's first overall pick in 1992. He quickly realized he wasn't as smart as he thought about money despite a few business and accounting classes.
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He went back to LSU to complete his undergraduate work, then added an online MBA from the University of Phoenix in 2005, and earned a doctoral degree from Barry University in Florida last May.
O'Neal's business interests include owning 42 health and fitness clubs and 155 hamburger restaurants.
In games played Wednesday night:
No. 17 Missouri 79, Georgia 62: Earnest Ross scored 15 points while surviving two spills, helping host Missouri rebound from its biggest setback of the season.
Alex Oriakhi had 13 points on perfect 5-for-5 shooting, eight rebounds and four blocks for the Tigers (13-3, 2-1 SEC), who were held to a season-low 49 points in a 15-point loss at Mississippi on Saturday. Their second game without leading scorer Laurence Bowers, who has a sprained right knee, was a major improvement for a team that's 10-0 at home this season and 26-1 at the Mizzou Arena in two seasons under coach Frank Haith.
Vincent Williams had a career-best 23 points on 7-for-10 shooting for Georgia (6-10, 0-3), nine more than his previous best after entering with a 4.1-point average. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the Bulldogs' lone player averaging in double figures, added 15 points.
No. 18 Michigan State 81, Penn State 72: Adreian Payne scored 20 points after spending the first half on the bench following a morning scuffle with teammate Brandon Dawson, and Michigan State held on to beat host Penn State.
Payne, a sturdy 6-foot-10 forward, made up for lost time by dominating the post in the second half. He had 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in a stretch of six-plus minutes after entering the game with about 16:30 left.
Maryland 51, No. 14 N.C. State 50: Alex Len dropped in a missed shot by teammate Pe'Shon Howard with 00.9 seconds left, giving host Maryland a stunning victory .
Howard drove the left side and came up short on a 5-footer, but the 7-foot-1 Len grabbed the ball in front of the rim and eased it through the hoop. After the Wolfpack failed on a desperation heave on the other end, thousands of students in the sellout crowd stormed the court.
Arkansas 88, Auburn 80: BJ Young's late 3-pointer in double overtime and Marshawn Powell's 28 points helped Arkansas hold on for its the second straight win.
Transylvania 53, Mt. St. Joseph 42: The host Pioneers converted 14 turnovers inton 14 points and cruised to victory. Brandon Rush led Transy, now 12-4, with 12 points.
Transylvania 89, Mt. St. Joseph 56: Alex McKenzie scored 29 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead visiting Transy past Mt. St. Joseph in Cincinnati. Transy, now, 12-4, broke open a close game with a 21-4 run in the first half.
Union 76, Point 44: Lindsay Water, a seniors from Stearns, Ky., scored 10 points, including the 1,000th of her career for visiting Union.
Thomas More 95 Bethany 42: Allison Long led the way with 23 points as the Saints ran their record to 15-1.