RICHMOND. Va. — Aaron Roussell was trying to land Kylee Lewandowski on his women's basketball roster at Bucknell University.
He wound up doing so at Richmond.
Roussell accepted the head coaching reins at Richmond in early April. Lewandowski, a Butler resident and guard/forward at North Catholic High School, recently agreed to take her academic and basketball skills to Richmond.
“I'm super excited to be going there,” Lewandowski said. “Coach Roussell went after me hard when he was at Bucknell and I got to know him well.
“He told me I'm his first recruit at Richmond — the first player he tried to sign — and that means a lot to me.”
Lewandowski averaged 15 points and 5.4 rebounds per game for North Catholic last season, helping the Trojanettes win their third successive WPIAL championship and reach the PIAA final.
She is entering her senior season at North Catholic and will be one of three returning starters in the lineup who have already committed to college basketball programs. Tess Myers is going to Duquesne and point guard Emma Pospisil is going to Union, a Division II school in Ohio.
Richmond finished 9-21 last season and hasn't had a winning campaign since going 19-14 in 2014-15. The Spiders' last 20-win season was in 2011-12.
“This guy knows how to win,” said Point Park men's basketball coach Joe Lewandowski, Kylee's father, of Roussell. “He's won everywhere he's been.”
Roussell has a career record of 312-122 in women's college basketball. He guided Bucknell to four successful NCAA Tournament bids and took the University of Chicago there in multiple seasons.
“I know he's going to do the same thing at Richmond and I'm excited about being a part of that process,” Kylee said.
Lewandowski also considered Oregon State, Bucknell and Fordham before deciding on Richmond.
“I was looking for a team that was going to be competitive, a school with high academics and a playing style on the court that plays to my style,” she said.
“Once I visited Richmond, it checked all of those boxes. That was the place for me.”
A 4.2 student at North Catholic, she is undecided on her major for college.
Lewandowski added that the Spider coaching staff is looking at her as a shooting guard.
“I'm a shooter and their offense works the ball around and sets up 3-point shooters,” she said. “I'll be expected to bring the ball up the floor on occasions and drive to the hoop if the opening is there.
“That's my game and that's the game they play. It's a good fit.”
North Catholic coach Molly Rottmann is excited for Lewandowski as well.
“It's a great decision. Richmond is one of the top academic schools around,” the coach said. “I know how badly Coach (Roussell) wanted her when he was at Bucknell.
“The fact Kylee is his No. 1 recruit at Richmond is pretty special.”
With Myers headed to Duquesne, she and Lewandowski will be opponents in the Atlantic 10 conference.
“We're best of friends, but we'll be competitors on the court,” Lewandowski said. “We can separate that. It will be fun.”
So will playing together for one more year of high school.
“The WPIAL championship and a state championship,” Lewandowski said. “Those are the goals.”