Penn State vs. VMI Preview: The Post-Chambers Era Begins

By Craig Fritz on November 28, 2020 at 10:52 am
Penn State Guards Myles Dread and MJ Jones
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
VMI Keydets
1-0 (0-0 Southern)
1 p.m. EST – Saturday, Nov. 28
Bryce Jordan Center
University Park, PA
KenPom Rank: 275
Read: The Nittany Lions Will Lean on Guards

Penn State (0-0, 0-0) will open its 2020-21 season in the midst of the most bizarre circumstances, oh, and also in the middle of a global pandemic. The Nittany Lions hope to start the Jim Ferry era with a win against the Virginia Military Institute Keydets (1-0, 0-0), who are coached by Penn State legend Dan Earl.

The Lions were supposed to start the year against Drexel on Wednesday, but someone in the program got popped with a positive COVID test and the game was put on hold.

The Keydets posted a 90-63 win over something called a St. Andrews on Wednesday. They shot 50% from the floor and 34% from three-point range on 38 attempts from deep. They're clearly a team that loves to launch and has the green light from pretty much anywhere on the floor. 

Projected Starters
Penn State VMI
G Jamari Wheeler - 6'1" - Sr. G Kamdyn Curfman - 6'1" - So.
G Myreon Jones - 6'3" - Jr. G Greg Parham - 6'4" - Sr.
G Myles Dread - 6'4" - Jr. G Myles Lewis - 6'5" - Sr.
F Seth Lundy - 6'6" - So. G Sean Conway - 6'5" - So.
F John Harrar - 6'9" -  Sr. C Jake Stephnes - 6'10" - Jr.

scouting report

Senior guard Ta'Vonne Bond (15 points) didn't get the start but had a nice return to action after missing the entire 2019-20 season with an injury. He lead the way for the Keydets, who unloaded the bench against St. Andrews. Eleven players saw at least 10 minutes of action, so it's hard to know what to expect as they head north to State College.

Other than Bond, the Keydets are led by Kamdyn Curfman and Myles Lewis. Curfman will cut it loose from anywhere and Lewis is a wing who does his damage inside the arc. Senior guard Greg Parham also chips in with nearly 10 points/game. Turnovers have been an issue for VMI. Last season they averaged nearly 13 game and gave it up 17 times against St. Andrews.

keys to the game

  • Move forward. It's been an unprecedented offseason. Penn State missed out on a sure-fire NCAA tournament bid due to the pandemic and then saw its head coach pushed out amid less-than-transparent circumstances. As interim coach Jim Ferry tries to pick up the pieces, it's tough to place too many expectations on this team.
  • Sessoms Sessions. One thing that will certainly help as the Lions transition from Lamar Stevens will be the play of transfer guard Sam Sessoms. Sessoms was granted immediate eligibility and will provide a scoring boost and another trusted ball-handler for Ferry.
  • Play through the silence. There won't be any fans in the stands this year, so the Lions will have to find their own energy when they hit a rough patch. Teams that are able to create their own juice will be well served this year.


Not much to say here other than Penn State should win this one going away. Changes and circumstances aside, the Lions boast a much more talented roster. Hopefully, the team can get out to a big lead and empty the bench in advance of a huge contest against VCU on Wednesday. Penn State 86 - VMI 69