Joseph Santoliquito (@JSantoliquito)
Offers came from everywhere: Saint Joseph’s, Penn, Columbia, La Salle, Stony Brook, Drexel, Rhode Island and Fordham. Penn Charter’s gifted 5-foot-11 junior forward Aleah Snead had her choices.
But on Tuesday, Snead, the younger sister of Archbishop Ryan star Jalen Snead, went with the school that first offered her a basketball scholarship—St. Joe’s.
Aleah Snead (above) was a key part of Penn Charter's success this season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Snead was the driving force of Penn Charter’s 20-5 overall record this season and 11-1 Inter-Academic League mark in guiding the Quakers to their first Inter-Ac championship since 1998. Snead, along with Quakers’ freshman Kayline Bethea and junior Bella Toomey, was named first-team all-Inter-Ac, after averaging 15.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.8 steals and 1.1 blocks a game this past season.
“I felt like St. Joe’s is where I wanted to be, and I always came back to them, even when I went to visit other campuses,” Snead said. “I could never see myself living too far. It’s always been East Coast, and I didn’t want to go all the way across the country. I just couldn’t envision myself going far. I like the history of Coach (Cindy) Griffin and this year I’ve become closer to Coach Griffin and her staff and players, and it just felt right.
“They’re a young team and a lot of those players will be juniors, still there, when I get there. I can’t wait. My family gets to see me play and I’m close to home.”
The Hawks went 13-17 this season, and 7-8 in the Atlantic 10 Conference, where they reached the conference tournament semifinals, losing to eventual A-10 tournament champion Massachusetts, 76-58. Freshman Talya Brugler was the Hawks’ leading scorer, averaging 10.6 points a game.
“I’m excited that Aleah is 20 minutes from us, and my daughters are excited, too, because we can all still see her play,” Penn Charter coach Joe Maguire said. “Aleah was talking to the coaches at Villanova, but St. Joe’s was the first to offer, and I think with the way everything is right now with transfers and the transfer portal, things are a little tricky. I think it’s the reason why she decided to commit now.
“St. Joe’s was her first offer last year. She and I spoke throughout the year, and St. Joe’s was always in her top three. Originally, she wanted to wait until after the summer with the AAU season but went to visit St. Joe’s this week and that solidified everything she’s been feeling the whole time about St. Joe’ s. I have four daughters, and the older two come to Penn Charter practices. They were pumped, because they could go to her games. St. Joe’s was always there.”
Snead (left) has one season left at Penn Charter before heading to Hawk Hill. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Since the end of Snead’s freshman year, Maguire had been receiving calls about her. This early decision alleviates some tension on her senior year and allows Snead to enjoy her final season of high school armed with the knowledge of where she is going to play. As she physically matures, colleges were telling Maguire, Snead could guard everyone from '1' through '5.' Schools liked her length and athleticism, and she can score on all three levels. Being lefthanded, Snead can get to her spots with her strong hand.
“The other thing with Aleah is that she’s a really good, well-rounded kid,” Maguire said. “She comes from a great family and is very involved in school. I think that plays a big part of Aleah’s decision.”
Snead admitted she enjoyed her time being recruited and visiting schools, though she’s also relieved that she knows where she is going.
“I’ve leaving a family at Penn Charter, and I’m bringing some of that with me to my new family at St. Joe’s,” said Aleah, who is leaning towards majoring in criminology with a minor in forensics. “I’m still going to work hard. This is a big load off my mind, though, and my parents as well. I told my parents first and then my Penn Charter coaches. My mom always knew I wanted to go to St. Joe’s. My dad was happy. I’m extremely happy, because deep in my heart, I made the right choice.
“I want to win another Inter-Ac title and I want to get a 1,000 points, as a personal goal, and finish with a state championship. I got one big goal this week. It still seems surreal.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who began writing for CoBL in 2021 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter here.