Joey Lane, Ohio State Walk-Ons Earn Late Minutes With Hard Work in Practice

By James Grega on February 13, 2018 at 8:35 am
Joey Lane

If you're a fan of sports or Will Ferrell movies, you know the title given to those who are often forgotten. You know, the 'Other Guys.' 

While you might not know their names (okay, you probably know at least one of their names), they put in just as much work as the players that get all the attention, like Keita Bates-Diop or Jae'Sean Tate. 

With Ohio State up comfortably on Iowa late in an 82-64 victory on Saturday night, Chris Holtmann was able to empty his bench and bring in walk-ons Matt Lehmann, Connor Fulton and former walk-on and fan favorite Joey Lane. While he said his starters and other contributors probably could have given him more minutes due to an extended break between games, Holtmann said he was more than happy to give minutes to the guys who rarely see game action.

"I think they certainly could have went longer, but its nice to be able to get them a little bit of rest. It probably would have been more important if we were playing on Tuesday," Holtmann said after the Iowa win. "I was OK if they were going to play longer, but it was nice to be able to get some other guys in there. Your walk-ons work really hard to help you prepare your team in scouting and you love to be able to give them some game action. That was cool to see. Typically, those guys aren't too shy getting up shots when they get in there. That was the case again (Saturday)."

Holtmann was of course referencing Lane's first field goal attempt against Iowa, which came from close to 30 feet but did not fall.

Lane's fame with Ohio State fans, particularly the student body, has grown with his energy on the bench and his Twitter account, which is never short of entertainment. 

Prior to Lane checking in against Iowa, the Ohio State student section made sure to make their voices heard in calling for Holtmann to insert the Deerfield, Ill., native into the game, something Holtmann acknowledged he hears loud and clear on his radio show Monday. 

"Everybody loves when Joey Lane can get in there. With six minutes to go, if we have a three-possession lead, I get chants to put Joey in there from the student section," Holtmann said. "I am like, 'Settle down there, we have a game to win.' Not that Joey wouldn't help us. He is a fan favorite. They absolutely love him and we love him. We love to coach him."

While Lane didn't score against the Hawkeyes on Saturday, he drew perhaps one of the largest cheers of the season when he sank a three-pointer in a blowout win over Maryland on Jan. 11. His reaction (as captured by Eleven Warriors' photographer Andrew Lind), was as you can imagine, priceless. 

Joey Lane
Joey Lane following his lone three-point make of the season.

Nearly every team, no matter the sport, has a group of 'Other Guys' that work hard in practice, but almost never get to see game action. Holtmann, however, doesn't want anyone to forget about his group of walk-ons and other bench players, as they have contributed to the almost surreal run Ohio State has been on in 2017-18. 

"It is great to have those guys. As you know, they are on your scout team, they work as hard as the other guys and they get beat up a lot being on the scout team," Holtmann said. "To have those guys out there playing a little bit, it's great."

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