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O’Boyle enjoying football season, but basketball is still main focus

Leo O’Boyle

Leo O’Boyle is thriving as a quarterback, making an increasing impact on an unbeaten, state-ranked football team at Scranton Prep

That, however, is not about to change two basic points. “Basketball player” is still how O’Boyle identifies himself as an athlete and what he expects to be in the future.

“I’ve always played it,” said O’Boyle, a 17-year-old junior from Scranton. “This is just my third year playing football.

“Basketball is still my sport.”

That is why between the football games and practices in the fall, O’Boyle can still be found making a couple of visits each week to work out at Backcourt Hoops, sharpening his 3-point shot and other basketball skills. And, why he spends much more time at the Scranton facility in the spring and summer.

O’Boyle has been coming to Backcourt Hoops since third grade and playing on JB Hoops AAU teams since he was in seventh grade.

Running for 3 touchdowns against Dallas in Scranton Prep’s first challenging game several weeks ago, going 13-for-18 passing and throwing for 2 of his team’s 3 touchdowns against Wyoming Area the next week or throwing the game-winning touchdown in the last minute of a 35-34 thriller against Valley View are not about to change that commitment.

When football season ends, O’Boyle will transition right into being an important player on another Scranton Prep team that has made it into state rankings in recent seasons.

After being a key substitute much of last season and starting a few times in the playoffs, O’Boyle figures to be one of the main weapons for the Cavaliers this winter. He was the team’s top scoring reserve and was third overall on the team in 3-pointers made last season behind a pair of guards who have since graduated.

The 6-foot-7 forward could be on the move as the Scranton Prep roster evolves. He was primarily a forward/center last season on a team loaded with veteran guards while on its way to repeating as both Lackawanna League Division 1 and District 2 Class 3A champions.

“Last year, we used him more as a stretch four and to back up Wes Simons as a five at times because of the fact that we had so many seniors guards,” Scranton Prep coach Andrew Kettel said. “He filled that role and did an outstanding job for us last year.

“But, as we move forward this year, he’s going to be probably more of a 3, handle the ball on the perimeter more and then, depending on game situations, he’ll also play inside.”

That change in roles fits well with where O’Boyle projects as a college player and matches what he worked on throughout the AAU season for JB Hoops.

“We were out there playing good competition,” O’Boyle said. “For me it was good exposure, playing good teams and being seen by more colleges.”

O’Boyle’s play in front of college coaches on the AAU tournament circuit has him already receiving recruiting attention from low-to-mid NCAA Division I schools. He said he has gotten the most Division I interest from Ivy League and Patriot League schools.

“They’re all kind of close, within 2-3 hours, and they’re good academic schools,” O’Boyle said.

The temptation is great on a high school coach to keep a 6-foot-7 player closer to the basketball, but Kettel sees the chance to take advantage of the same skills that attract college coaches to O’Boyle.

“His 3-point shot is probably his strength,” Kettel said. “He can really shoot it. He had a great summer shooting the ball from 3.

“If need be, he can play with his back to the basket as well, but his strength is facing the basket. He’s a very good 3-point shooter.”

And, as he’s showing on fall weekends, O’Boyle’s someone who can use his athleticism and poise to shine under the demands of playing quarterback, even though he is relatively new to that challenge.

Mixing in the time at Backcourt Hoops allows him to do so without interrupting his basketball progress.

“It’s obviously a risk,” he said. “If I got injured, I might lose some interest, but as long as I stay healthy and I get down here to work out, I should be the same player.”

 

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