Kylie Lavelle brought an early end to the recruiting process Saturday night.
The NEPA Elite Clark 17U girls guard/forward gave her verbal commitment to the Drexel University coaching staff Saturday and spent time Sunday informing other schools that she had made her decision.
Drexel and Lafayette College had each extended National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I scholarship offers and other schools were continuing to show interest in the junior from Riverside, who earned first-team, high school all-state honors in Class 3A from Pennsylvania Sports Writers during her sophomore season.
Lavelle visited the Philadelphia school Wednesday, although current regulations in place regarding COVID-19 and how it relates to recruiting, prevented the in-person meeting with coaches that is part of official visits. She also had made an unofficial recruiting visit to Bucknell University last year.
“Once I visited, I knew it was the school for me,” said Lavelle, who plans to pursue a major in the medical field.
Lavelle joined the Hoop Group Showcase League champion NEPA Elite Clark team midway through the season after playing the early summer portion of the AAU season with the Philly Belles.
With NEPA Elite, Lavelle was one of five players on the team – all of them players with NCAA Division I commitments or scholarship offers – to average between 7.3 and 9.2 points per game. In terms of her-game average, she was the team leader in rebounds (4.0) and steals (1.4) while ranking second in blocked shots (0.6).
“She’s able to alter shots,” said Kevin Clark, who coached Lavelle with NEPA Elite. “She’s able to sit down and guard and stay in front of the basketball. Kylie just has a knack for being around the ball, whether it’s rebounding, loose balls, 50-50 balls, she’s got that feel for the game.”
Lavelle is known for her versatility.
With Riverside, she has played primarily as point guard. With NEPA Elite, she played the “2” through “4” (off guard to power forward) positions and she has been recruited by colleges as a small forward or off guard.
Lavelle said Drexel has indicated the likelihood of playing her on the perimeter.
“I’m more comfortable on the perimeter. I’m not really a post player,” said Lavelle, who uses her height to work effectively inside on the high school level.
One example was at Riverside where Lavelle often started the offense, but then moved inside to pursue offensive rebounds much more frequently than the typical point guard.
Lavelle averaged 21.7 points and grabbed 4.1 of her 7.3 rebounds per game on the offensive end. She also contributed 2.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game while shooting 54.6 percent from the floor.
“Her versatility really sets her apart,” Riverside coach Jack Mekilo said of the NEPABasketball.com first-team, all-District 2 and Lackawanna League Division 3 all-star selection.
Lavelle follows NEPA Elite teammates Cecelia Collins and Rachael Rose, both Scranton Prep seniors, in making verbal commitments to Division I. Collins is headed to Bucknell and Rose to the University of South Carolina Upstate. Dunmore junior Moriah Murray and sophomore Ciera Toomey are the others with offers.
Lavelle, who has been playing basketball “since I was able to walk,” said having the college commitment in place does not change her final two high school seasons or last AAU season.
“This just pushes me to work harder,” Lavelle said. “I’m not going to stop working just because I’m committed. I’m going to keep doing what I was doing before that.”
Drexel went 23-7, including 16-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association, in 2019-20.
Amy Mallon took over as head coach of the program in March after 16 seasons as associate head coach in which Drexel went 319-193, including 96-35 in the last four seasons. The Dragons made their only NCAA Tournament appearance in 2009 and won a women’s NIT title in 2013.