Ohio State will open the 2018-19 men's basketball season by playing its first game at Cincinnati in 98 years. The Buckeyes and Bearcats will meet at the newly renovated Fifth Third Arena on Nov. 7, marking only the 11th time the in-state programs have met and the first time they’ve played each other within state lines since 1921. In preparation for the game, The Dispatch is counting down the final 14 days with power rankings for each of the members of the Ohio State roster. The series continues with the third player in our rankings.

No. 12: Joey Lane

Position: Guard

Class: Senior

Height/Weight: 6 feet 1 / 180 pounds

Jersey number: 14

Background: A product of Deerfield, Illinois, Lane he didn't play much on a senior-laden roster in high school due to injury, and averaged 12 points and three assists while earning all-state, all-area and all-conference honors as a senior. Likely ticketed for a Division III program, Lane opted to join the Buckeyes as a walk-on with a goal of eventually earning a scholarship. He was ultimately successful and now is looked upon by his teammates as a locker-room leader as the team’s longest-tenured player.

2017-18 stats: Lane averaged 1.1 points and 0.4 rebounds in 2.7 minutes per appearance and saw action in 10 games.

Career stats: In 21 career games for Ohio State, Lane has scored 22 points and has four rebounds, two steals and two assists in 50 total minutes. He is 6 for 23 (26.1 percent) from the floor and 5 for 18 (27.8 percent) from three.

Need to know: More than an average walk-on, Lane enters his final season at Ohio State established as an important voice within the locker room because of his devotion to the program. “Joey Lane, even though he’s a walk-on, guys listen to him. He understands the work that it takes to be successful. He’s been here the longest out of anyone here and he’s been stepping up in a leadership role, which is something he has every right to do.” Last season, it was Lane who greeted every player when he was introduced as a member of the starting lineup with a unique handshake, and his “Towel Gang” celebrations on the bench have earned him plenty of notoriety — so much so that Lane’s towel has its own Twitter page. Multiple players on the roster have named him as the team’s best overall shooter.

Join the conversation at Facebook.com/groups/BuckeyeXtraFans and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra

2017-18 recap: Although Lane remained on scholarship, he fulfilled the role of a walk-on for a third straight season and his playing time reflected that. His 10 appearances were a career high, and he scored his first points in Big Ten play with a field goal against Wisconsin in the team’s conference opener and would later add a three-pointer against Maryland and another against Rutgers on senior night.

2018-19 outlook: Lane’s greatest impact is always going to come from the end of the bench, but that shouldn’t diminish his importance on the roster. The Buckeyes rely on him for effort, enthusiasm and leadership, and Lane’s development in those areas figures to only grow. “Guys like him,” coach Chris Holtmann said during the preseason. “They respect him. They know he is all about Ohio State playing well and all about Ohio State winning. That’s his only agenda, so when you have an older guy where that’s his only agenda, and he’s got the personality of Joey, Joey’s an unselfish kid. Joey Lane’s a tremendous, tremendous person. I definitely think he’s going to have a level of influence, for sure.”

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy