Kevin Montminy Looks to Embrace Role as Captain
Kevin Montminy is not your traditional Big Ten captain.
The Centre County native won’t be featured on any preseason watch lists, all-Big Ten teams, or even the Nittany Lion starting five. In fact, last year he saw just 14 minutes on the court, and in his three years with the team, he’s only scored 24 points.
But none of this stopped Montminy from earning the honor of being a captain on the 2014-15 basketball team, and earning a scholarship after spending three years as a walk-on.
“It means a lot to me. I’m not going to be the one starting, I’m not going to be the one putting up all the points, but just to know that I can be the one to pull someone aside… I think knowing that my teammates think of me as a vocal leader even whenever I’m not on the court, that speaks volumes to me. I’m completely honored,” Montminy said.
Montminy, a senior in the Smeal College of Business’ accelerated Masters of Accounting program, walked on to the team his freshman year. He came from Penns Valley High School in Centre County, where he was a three-sport standout, as well as valedictorian, student council President, and leading scorer in Centre County his senior year. As a freshman, he saw just 10 minutes of playing time, a serious departure from the role he played in high school. Despite no spotlight, Montminy continued to work hard, looking to improve his teammates, and normally playing a major role on the scout team in practice.
“I knew coming in here, it would be a different role,” he said. “But I think when I got to know my teammates well and they got to appreciate what I was and what I could bring to the table… they knew that I was going to come in and work hard and try to get them better everyday. Just knowing that my teammates thought that of me made all the lack of headlines completely worth it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
Though Montminy hasn’t seen much action on the court, he’s received accolades off the court for his classroom performance, earning Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and Academic All-Big Ten selections in each of the past two years. Montminy said that, in addition to the obvious benefit of being close to home, academics played a large role in his decision to come to Penn State, specifically being both a Schreyer Honors College Scholar and part of the Smeal College of Business. Last year, Coach Chambers also praised his work ethic and dedication, calling him the epitome of the phrase “student-athlete.”
Being a part of the basketball program under Chambers for the past four years has made Montminy optimistic for the future of the program. He says the team has made huge strides and is only getting better.
“I think the big thing here, is we come to practice every single day with the attitude of getting better,” he said. “We’re making sure that every single day we come with the attitude to attack each drill, not just get through practice, but to attack it and get better. And I think that’s always where the program will always be heading under Coach Chambers. I think in the future, you’re always going to get consistency from Coach and the team.”
Now, in his final season, Montminy has reached a level he never imagined possible his freshman year. The former walk-on has gone from a scout team guard, to captain of a team he grew up watching. For Montminy, the year will certainly be bittersweet, but that’s not stopping him from eagerly waiting for the season to start.
“Time flies. I can’t say enough about my time here at Penn State, I can’t say enough about the staff… my teammates that I played with over the years, and I wish I had another four years,” Montminy said.