COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Playing for Penn State dream come true for O'Boyle

May 6—Leo O'Boyle called it a dream come true and an opportunity he couldn't pass up.

Earlier this week, the former Scranton Prep and Lafayette College basketball standout announced he will play his fifth year of eligibility at Penn State University.

He is the third former Lackawanna League basketball player to head to Happy Valley since the fall. Dunmore's Moriah Murray and Riverside's Kylie Lavelle also transferred.

O'Boyle and Murray were 2019 Times-Tribune All-Region selections with Murray being the girls player of the year. O'Boyle was the Times-Tribune Male Athlete of the Year in 2019.

"It's interesting to see all these players putting in this hard work and taking that next step, getting to that next level. It's awesome," O'Brien said. "It's great for myself and those two girls to do it. Hopefully, it inspires young kids to keep working hard. Anything is possible. Who ever thought I'd be at Penn State one day? It's something I wouldn't have dreamed of. But you can do anything if you put your head to it."

At the beginning of the season, O'Boyle entered the NCAA transfer portal on the advice of then-Lafayette head coach Mike Jordan since Lafayette does not have a graduate school.

O'Boyle said he garnered interest from some mid-major schools, one of which was Virginia Commonwealth University and head coach Mike Rhoades.

When Rhoades left VCU to become Penn State's coach, replacing Micah Shrewsberry, who departed to become head coach at Notre Dame, O'Boyle was a bit upset, thinking an opportunity had by-passed him. But Rhoades and his staff didn't forget about O'Boyle and offered him a scholarship to Penn State.

"I kind of kept everything to myself because it was a stressful process," O'Boyle said. "A bunch of schools in the CAA and mid-major conferences were recruiting me. I didn't really like anything too much, so it was going to be an interesting decision. Then when Penn State called, it's my home state school, close to home, everyone can get there. It was a yes decision automatically."

Making sure his family could come see him play was a big factor in the process.

"I've been so close to home for four years," O'Boyle said. "You have to take that family aspect into account. If I was to go to school six, seven hours away, my family wouldn't get to many of those games. That means a lot to them that I can stay close to home."

Penn State finished the season strong, reaching the Big Ten tournament final and advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

At Lafayette, O'Boyle played 109 games with 88 starts, scoring 1,027 career points. His 196 3-pointers ranks ninth on the program's all-time list. This season, as co-captain, he led the team with 11.6 points and helped Lafayette reach the Patriot League tournament final, where it lost to Colgate.

A government and law major, O'Boyle will graduate from Lafayette on May 20.

Romanowski to Scranton

Citing a desire to be closer to home, former Western Wayne star Kaeli Romanowski is transferring after one year at Elizabethtown College to the University of Scranton.

"When I started thinking about coming home and being closer to my family, I decided to see if coach (Ben) O'Brien would be interested in me and if I had an opportunity to be on that team," Romanowski said. "He welcomed me with open arms. So I ultimately decided to come home."

Romanowski played 27 games off the bench in her freshman season at Elizabethtown, averaging 19.6 minutes. She scored 5.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, led the team in steals (66) and was second in assists (64).

Te Lady Blue Jays finished 23-5 with three of the losses coming to Scranton, including in the Landmark Conference championship game. They earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament and lost in the second round to national runnerup Christopher Newport, 65-55.

"I'm so grateful for my experience at E-town. I loved every single part of it. I made so many friends," Romanowski said. "There always will be a special place in my heart for E-town. We made so many memories and so many experiences together that I will never forget. I wouldn't change a thing about it. It's just that I wanted to come closer to home."

Romanowski will be reunited with Kaci Kranson, a Holy Cross graduate who Romanowski called "one of my favorite teammates" from AAU. Lady Royals assistant coach Jess Rini also was a coach in that AAU program.

Plus, Dunmore graduate Victoria Toomey earlier announced she is transferring from Division I Rider University to Scranton for her fifth year of eligibility.

"I never played with Victoria Toomey, but I played for her mom (Carrie) and with (sister) Ciera," Romanowski said. "I'm super excited."

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