By Tom Robinson
Leo O’Boyle is one of two Lafayette freshmen who hope to make their college their college debut tonight at 8 on the team’s home floor when it takes on Columbia University to begin Fran O’Hanlon’s 20th season as coach of the Leopards.
The 6-foot-7 JB Hoops alum and Scranton Prep graduate spent most of the preseason, which included a pair of scrimmages, learning the “4” (forward) position.
“Right now, I’m playing mostly the 4 until I get a grasp of the offense,” O’Boyle said. “It is a lot of work. Practice is a lot different than the high school level. It requires a lot more effort and competition.
“But, I do like it. It’s what I came here to do.”
The shooting range that made O’Boyle a 1,000-point scorer and Class 4A all-state performer at Scranton Prep also helps make him a candidate to spend time at other positions.
“Leo has good size and can really shoot the basketball,” O’Hanlon said, according to a season preview on the Lafayette website. “Our freshmen have to learn what we do, but once we get them to that point, I project they’ll make an impact.”
Lafayette has a big and experienced team as it prepares to try to improve on going 7-11 in the Patriot League and 10-20 overall last season.
“We’re pretty deep at the ‘4’ position,” O’Boyle said.
The preseason has been about adjusting to a more hectic pace at both ends of the floor for O’Boyle.
“At the Division I level, you can’t get away with slacking off for a couple plays,” he said. “I have to work on 100 percent activity every time up and down the floor.”
At practice, O’Boyle has found himself busy offensively and defensively, on and off the ball.
“In our offense, there’s a lot of cutting and movement,” O’Boyle said. “The ball movement is a big thing for us. We set a lot of screens.
“You kind of have to be as into it on the defensive end as you are on the offensive end. Once we get them both clicking, we’ll be alright.”
O’Boyle said he is looking forward to seeing what the Lafayette-Lehigh Patriot League rivalry is like.
“Those are two really big games that I’m excited to see,” he said. “That’s something I’ve never experienced before.”
O’Boyle is also excited about a Dec. 3 game at St. Joseph’s because many of his high school classmates are attending college in Philadelphia, there or at Temple.
Lafayette learned Thursday that it would play the season without 2017-18 Patriot League Rookie of the Year Alex Petrie, a junior guard, because of a medical condition.