When Joey Lane came to Ohio State in 2015, he knew there was a good chance his competitive playing days, at least in game scenarios, were over.
Through three seasons in Columbus, that has indeed been the case. He has logged just 50 career minutes and 21 points, but has made the most of his time in scarlet and gray, perhaps more than any walk-on since Mark Titus.
Entering his third and final season on scholarship, Lane said he briefly considered taking a route similar to that of his former teammate and close friend, Andrew Dakich. As is well-documented, Dakich redshirted his final season at Michigan so that he could play a significant role on a different team for his final year of eligibility as a graduate transfer. That ended up being at Ohio State, where he is now a graduate assistant coach after his one season as a Buckeye.
After the success Ohio State had in the first year of the Chris Holtmann era, however, Lane said he couldn't find it in himself to leave the school he has come to love. His energy and passion for the university was encapsulated in a video he made for The Player's Tribune on Selection Sunday last season, which you can watch below.
"I have definitely thought about that and talked about that with different coaches and my teammates and Dakich a ton," Lane said Wednesday. "That is something that crossed my mind, but as soon as we had the season we had last year I knew this was 100 percent the place for me. Being here was a dream come true and these past three years, I have no regrets. I am ready to take this last ride and finish out strong."
Lane's mother and her family are from Toledo, Ohio and all attended Ohio State, so Lane was raised a Buckeye, despite growing up near Chicago. He said he often joked with his father about coming to Columbus, and had his heart set on playing Div. III basketball in college.
"I wanted to go to a liberal arts school, get a great education and be able to be a player that could play right away and contribute," Lane said. "In the back of my head, my dad and I would laugh about it everyday. 'But if Ohio State calls, it's going to be hard to turn down,' and somehow it happened. I am thankful for that every day."
Now in Columbus to stay, Lane has one year left before his playing days are over. He said he hasn't thought much about what he wants to do after college, but mentioned coaching as a possibility if an opportunity presented itself.
For now, Lane said he is focused on the 2018-19 season and hoping to help Ohio State win a Big Ten title, something the Buckeyes have not done since the 2011-12 season when they shared the regular season crown with Michigan and Michigan State.
"I have a passion for this university like no one I know," Lane said. "While I want my legacy to be that guy on the bench that had a lot of fun and was charismatic and everyone in the stands knew him not because he was a good basketball player but because he was a good person, I want to win a Big Ten Championship this year.
"C.J. Jackson and I have been here for a long time and we have been together through the ups and the downs. If we can leave on the note of winning a Big Ten Championship, that's the legacy I want to leave."