Hardwood Highlights Include Wins Over Navy, The Citadel

The Keydets overcame adversity in the 2022–23 season, showing steady improvement and finishing with impressive wins against the U.S. Naval Academy and Radford University in December and SoCon wins over The Citadel and Wofford College in February.—Photo courtesy VMI Keydets.

Given that VMI had the youngest team in the country heading into the season, the general understanding was that the team would be on a steep learning curve and take its lumps throughout the season.

The Keydets did indeed battle adversity the entire campaign but gradually learned to play together and made steady improvement from beginning to end under Andrew Wilson, first-year head coach. The Keydets finished with a 7-25 record but earned impressive wins against the U.S. Naval Academy and Radford University in December and SoCon wins over The Citadel and Wofford College in February.

Led by captains Sean Conway ’23 and Sam Wolfe ’23, the Keydets continued to battle and fight to the end. In the win over Navy, Conway earned a career high of 28 points, and in the win over Radford, all five starters scored in double figures to earn a slim team win by three points Dec. 10, 2022.

The Keydets fought hard and had close losses to the likes of Davidson College, American University, and Fordham University, in addition to a number of SoCon schools during league play. VMI learned to play well together over the course of the season and earned league wins over The Citadel and an 87-83 overtime thriller over Wofford in February. In the win over Wofford, all 87 points were accounted for by freshmen, an extremely rare feat perhaps never accomplished in NCAA Division I history. VMI used eight different starting lineups during the season to account for injuries and young team members as Wilson sought to find the best rotation for his team.

Conway became the 45th Keydet in program history to earn 1,000 points over his VMI career, doing so early in the opening half of VMI’s SoCon Tournament opening-round loss to the University of Tennessee – Chattanooga, the final game of his career. He logged seven points in the game to finish his career with 1,006 points from 2019–23. As a 1st Class cadet, he ranked fifth in the SoCon in three-pointers made per game at 2.2 and seventh in three-point field goal percentage at .395.

VMI finished the regular season ranked first in the SoCon in both free throw percentage (.774) and offensive rebounds at 10.9 per outing. The Keydets also ranked second in the league in three-point percentage, making 35.6 percent of their attempts during the year.

Asher Woods ’26 and Tyler Houser ’26 were named to the Southern Conference All-Freshman Team for their accomplishments during the year.

A native of Newnan, Georgia, Woods ranked third among all players in the league in minutes played with 35.3 per outing. A stellar free throw shooter, he ranked ninth in the league in free throw percentage, making over 80% of attempts at the charity stripe with .804. The only Keydet to start all 31 games this season, Woods led the team with 14.1 points per game and scored a season-high 22 points in the home opener against Penn State New Kensington Nov. 10. He ranked fifth on the team in rebounds at 4.6 per contest and logged seven games with 20-plus points and totaled 23 contests in double figures scoring.

Houser ranked third on the team in points per game, averaging 10.9 for the Keydets during his freshman year, including a season-high 26 points versus Western Carolina in the regular season finale. The center from Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, ranked second on the team in rebounds at 5.1 per outing and grabbed a season-high 12 boards at The Citadel Feb. 2, 2023. Not only strong in the paint, Houser also proved his range by converting 41 three-point attempts on the season at .353. He was also effective at the free-throw line by making 42 of 58 attempts during the regular season for a .724 average.

Starting all but four games on the year, Tony Felder Jr. ’26 finished eighth in the league for his assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.4 and ranked ninth in the SoCon in assists with 3.1 per game.

Taeshaud Jackson II ’26 came on strong over the season’s final three weeks and earned five double-doubles during that span. He finished sixth in the league standings with 7.1 rebounds per game and sixth in both offensive rebounds with 2.1 and defensive rebounds with 5.0.

Wolfe had the greatest season of his VMI career and ended up with career highs in every statistical category as he earned significant playing time. He played a key role on both ends of the court to help VMI defeat Wofford in overtime Feb. 22, 2023.

Returning this year’s freshman class next year—in conjunction with the return of injured players D.J. Nussbaum ’24, Cooper Sisco ’25, and Brennan Watkins ’25—will bode well for the Keydets going forward. The future looks bright for the young program.