Not since the great Club Trillion founder himself, Mark Titus, has Ohio State had a player that embraces walk-on life. Senior Jake Lorbach has gone so far as to invent a walk-on hashtag.
There's only one tweet that uses it. It's not trending.
Lorbach's days as a true walk-on are over, however. This year, he's a full scholarship player.
It's been a great day! Thanks so much to Ohio State, Coach Matta and the rest of the coaches, and my team. Scholarship for my senior year— Jake Lorbach (@BlitzkriegBach) July 30, 2015
The lone senior on this very young Buckeyes squad, Lorbach looks to embrace his scholarship and provide some real leadership to this team.
Lorbach hails from Elyria, OH, on the west side of Cleveland, and has been on the team since 2012, when he walked-on as a freshman. Last season, Lorbach clocked in at 6'7, 210 lbs. He's finishing up his degree at Ohio State this semester, and will graduate just as the Buckeye's season begins to heat up.
Previous season stats: Lorbach played in eight whole games last year, making his debut during the North Carolina A&T game and his curtain call during the Wisconsin game. During those games, Lorbach logged an average of 1.6 minutes. Too bad, because had he just kept his minutes down, he could have averaged a trillion for the season. His best game came at home versus Maryland, when he took his lone game shot for the season. On the upside, there's lots of room for improvement here.
A look back:
Lorbach played basically the same role last year as he did in the 2013-2014 season, checking into just eight games and making very little box score impact. Lorbach's limits are more than made up in his spare time where he's able to keep up his energetic social media presence. He tweets often and hilariously. No Browns game, or Ohio State football game, or trip to Raising Canes is complete without his A-material. It's Jake Lorbach's world, we're just living in it.
Lorbach's is also particularly accomplished at almost-exaggerated responses to fantastic things on the court. D'Angelo Russell provided lots of reaction opportunities last year, like this gem:
In all seriousness, there's little doubt Lorbach is providing valuable contributions during Buckeye practices. Although this behind the scenes work isn't often documented, it's clear that Thad Matta values Lorbach's presence on the team enough to put him on scholarship.
Outlook for 2014-2015:
Even though Lorbach is the elder statesman on this team of youngbloods, don't expect his minutes or his offensive production to go up a ton. It would be nice for Lorbach to attempt a few more shots this year, but barring some catastrophic injuries to the dozen or so players ahead of him on the rotation, Lorbach's number isn't going to be called much during games of consequence
Lorbach's real contribution will be in shepherding these new players through Thad Matta's system, getting them ready for a gritty Big Ten basketball schedule and showing them the ropes. There's a lot of work to be done to get this team ready, and Lorbach can be a valuable supplement to Matta's coaching staff.
Best case scenario:
In bizarro world, Lorbach has spent the entire off-season developing a devastatingly undefendable running tear-drop shot, has developed 24 more inches of vertical jump, and the team simply feeds him the ball every possession. More realistically, the best case scenario is that Lorbach is good enough to give starting forwards Keita Bates-Diop and Marc Loving a rest without being an offensive or defensive liability. Providing bench depth that doesn't suck is Lorbach's best possible role on this team.
Worst case scenario:
The worst case scenario is an injury or something unforeseen. If the team proves better than any of us expect, it'd also be a bummer if (assuming fate cruely prohibits him more on-the-court opportunities) he just misses a potential season long trillion average by either scoring an actual bucket or playing too many minutes. In this "rebuilding year," I don't expect there to be many opportunities for mop-up, garbage time duty, so Lorbach's time will be spent holding down the end of the rotation, helping Ohio State get better in the short and long term alike, and spending his time off the court serving up mean post-game tweets.