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Lafayette makes winning impression on Scranton Prep's O'Boyle

09/10/2018, 1:00pm EDT
By Joseph Panichelli

Leo O'Boyle (above) committed to Lafayette late in August after a visit to the Easton campus changed his thinking. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Joe Panichelli (@panibull)

Scranton Prep senior Leo O’Boyle didn’t know much about Lafayette College a month back.

The Leopards began recruiting O’Boyle during the spring live period between his sophomore and junior years, but it wasn’t anything too intense at the time.

Dialogue over text between O’Boyle and head coach Fran O’Hanlon, and assistant coach Jimmy Fenerty, introduced him to the Lafayette program and their interest. They would check in on O’Boyle from time-to-time, and extended invitations to their elite camp, but It wasn’t until this summer that the Leopards became extremely invested, and in mid-July, produced a scholarship offer.

With 10 offers, O’Boyle wasn’t necessarily leaning in any direction. Despite Lafayette being the closest school to offer him, it was also the one he knew the least about, and his original conceptualization of the school left them out of his post-July group of favorites.  

“It was one of my last visits, I had couple in mind,” O’Boyle said. “My early stages, they weren’t really in the top three, they were on the outside looking in.”

The 6-foot-7, 215 lb. forward received his first official offer from NJIT during his freshman year of high school. In the beginning of his junior year, he picked up his second from Columbia, followed by offers from American, Holy Cross, Colgate, and a few others.

O’Boyle had been to Easton just one time before his visit with the basketball program: to watch his older brother, John O’Boyle, who at the time played linebacker for Fordham, play the Leopards in football three years ago.

At the time, being on campus wasn’t something extraordinary to O’Boyle. His second trip, in August, left an entirely different perception.

“I never really put Lafayette into my mind, but once they offered me, I kind of thought I’d give them a shot,” he said. “So when I went down for a visit it really surprised me...the campus was actually really beautiful, and I liked it a lot.”

O’Boyle announced his commitment to Lafayette last Tuesday, becoming the second member of the Leopards’ incoming 2019 class. This new journey will come with a new set of challenges, but O’Boyle has never in his career shied away from competition.

O’Boyle got involved in the AAU circuit in the third grade, where he first formed his relationship with director of JB Hoops, John Bucci. By the time O’Boyle was in seventh grade, Bucci had him competing against kids three years older.

O’Boyle played with JB Hoops his entire middle school and high school career, despite opportunities and interests to play for some higher level programs. This summer, starring on the JB Hoops 17Us along with Abington Heights star George Tinsley, O’Boyle helped his squad into the Hoop Group Summer League championship game in July, along with several other deep tournament runs throughout the summer.

“JB Hoops has been really good to me,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better program.”

His career at Scranton has so far came with much success, with a 23-4 record O’Boyle’s sophomore year, and getting to a second-round appearance in the state playoffs his junior year.

What is equally impressive about O’Boyle, is that he’s done all of this while being the starting quarterback for Scranton Prep.

“Yeah, it’s a really long summer, especially this one,” O’Boyle said.

Coming straight from football training camp, O’Boyle would then go right to basketball practice for AAU. After that, he would have to entertain the handful of coaches that were calling and trying to get him on board. Of those suitors, it was the coaching staff from Lafayette that sealed the deal with O’Boyle.

“The coaches really seemed dedicated to recruiting me,” O’Boyle said “I think I’d get a call every day from one of them, asking me how I’m doing and seeing about football.”

O’Hanlon, who stands as winningest coach in Patriot League history, led a team that struggled to close out wins away last season. While losing 14 of 16 games on the road, the Leopards had a conference record of 7-11. They last won the Patriot League, which in the last two years has been dominated by Bucknell, in 2015.

Three sophomore guards will do some heavy lifting in the 2018-19 season, and will certainly lead the charge for O’Boyle’s first season for the Leopards next year. Alex Petrie, the 6-3 guard from St. Christophers in Virginia, averaged 15 points as a freshman in O’Hanlon’s read and react offense. Justin Jaworski saw 28.7 minutes per game and averaged nearly 11 points per game. E.J Stephens averaged 6.8 points his freshman season.

O’Boyle has spoken with O’Hanlon to discuss his role as an immediate impact player for the program. Although O’Boyle has shown that he can compete on the court with top talent, there is still work to be done.

“He (O’Hanlon) told me that nothing is given.” O’Boyle said “I have to work hard, earn my minutes, and earn my spot on the team.”

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