Fred VanVleet has come a long way. He was not able to hear his name get called back in the 2016 NBA Draft, but everything turned out just fine for the diminutive guard. In fact, he’s now a one-time NBA champion, something that his batchmates like Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers, Brandon Ingram of the New Orleans Pelicans, and Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics — the top three picks of their draft — have yet to achieve. Not bad for someone who saw himself get deprioritized over such basketball luminaries like Joel Bolomboy, Kay Felder, and Wang Zhelin. Hearing those names called to the stage must be tough for VanVleet, but if NBA general managers at the time were not convinced he’s ready for the NBA, there’s one close to him who never wavered in her belief that VanVleet would one day prove all those front office suits wrong. Ladies and gentlemen, we present to you, Fred VanVleet’s girlfriend: Shontai Neal.
Fred VanVleet’s girlfriend: Shontai Neal
Unlike most other NBA couples, Fred VanVleet and Shontai Neal go way, way, way back. How far back, exactly? Well, the two started dating each other in high school. There are probably not many players in the NBA today who’s been in a relationship today with the same one they used to date back in their high school days. VanVleet attended Auburn High School in Rockford Illinois and played for the school. He was good enough to be named into the All-State selection by the Chicago Sun-Times in 2012. It’s not hard to imagine Shontai Neal cheering hard from the stands every time VanVleet had a game, though she’s hardly the one keeping a close eye on the guard.
VanVleet got offers to play for a number of college programs, but he decided to take his talents to the Wichita State Shockers. Even though he was going to move to Wichita, that didn’t mean that he and Shontai Neal would be away from each other. According to Kansas.com, Shontai also went to Wichita State, so she was there when VanVleet and Ron Baker were leading the Shockers’ backcourt.
Shontai wasn’t just hanging around on the campus of Wichita State waiting for Van Vleet to finish practice. She was on a mission herself to get good grades and a degree. She accomplished both, as Shontai spent four years at Wichita State and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Health/Health Care Administration/Management. According to her LinkedIn profile, Shontai also participated in activities of the Black Student Union and Multicultural Student Mentor Program.
Moreover, Shontai was a Dean’s Lister in 2013 and 2016 for recording a point average of at least 3.500. Meanwhile, VanVleet averaged just 4.3 points and 2.3 assists in his first season with the Shockers in 2012-13. In his senior year, he put up 12.2 points and averaged 5.5 assists per contest.
Despite her busy college life, Shontai found time to work as a waitress at Olive Garden from 2011 to 2015. After she ended her gig at Olive Garden, Shontai worked as a front desk receptionist at The Inn at Tallgrass for a year from 2015 to 2016. Her job there entails creating and ensuring a fun atmosphere.
Shontai Neal doesn’t have anything on her LinkedIn profile after that, but we know she’s living the life right now as the partner of VanVleet, who signed a four-year deal worth $85 million with the Raptors in 2020, and as a mother of two adorable kids. Shontai gave birth to their first child, Sanaa Marie VanVleet, in January 2018.
“The birth came hours after VanVleet, who plays for the Toronto Raptors, scored a career-high 25 points in a 123-111 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.”
Over a year later, the couple welcomed Fred Jr., who was born while his dad was playing in the middle of a playoff series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
During the NBA Bubble down in Disneyland in Orlando, VanVleet got a nice visit from Shontai, who tugged along their kiddos. The happiest place on Earth just got even happier for Fred, as he enjoyed every second of his time with his family whom he had not seen in two months.
“I love you daddy” 🥺
Fred VanVleet seeing his kids for the first time in months.
(via IG/shontaineal_) pic.twitter.com/S930KLxNDI
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) August 31, 2020
Fred VanVleet’s girlfriend doesn’t have much of a social media presence, relatively speaking. But she still has over 13,000 followers on Instagram, where she has only posted a total of 19 pictures, as of this writing. However, she shares plenty of stories, with her kids as among her favorite subjects.
So there you have it. Fred VanVleet’s girlfriend is a nice woman who takes care of Fred and their two kids. What more can the Raptors guard ask?