He isn’t quite sure about the nationality or origin of his name. And he’s certain it wasn’t some bizarre precusor or predictor of his basketball prowess.
But it very well could’ve been.
Treyland ‘Trey’ Blanding is one of the top three-point marksman in local boys’ basketball. But to the Annville-Cleona Little Dutchmen, he’s so much more.
“It’s basically a coincidence,” said Blanding. “I have never found that (where his name came from) out actually. I’ve thought about it before, but it hasn’t been that big of a deal. I just go by ‘Trey’.
“I’ll take the three if I see it,” Blanding continued. “I’ve been working on that part of my game for a while. I want to step up and take some shots, especially if I’m open. It helps if you can drive, shoot the three or play off what the defense gives you.”
Accomplished and timely shooting might be the least of what Blanding does for Annville-Cleona. The 5-11 senior guard is a smart, heady, in-control ball handler, a solid defender and the closest thing the Little Dutchmen have to a coach on the floor.
“My role is a leader,” said Blanding. “I feel like I’m an extension of Coach (Mark Linebaugh) on the court. He knows exactly where we need to be and what we need to be doing. Especially when we’re struggling, it’s my job to get us back on track and keep us going.
“You have to gain respect,” Blanding continued. “You have to be respected and you have to respect. You have to be honest. You have to be a hard worker. You have to be a good example.”
“He and I spent a lot of time together,” said Linebaugh. “He’s a guy who wants to work on improving his game. It’s not fair to compare him to another player. But in terms of work ethic and drive, I see a lot of myself in Trey. But he’s making a name for himself.”
Perhaps the best barometer of what Blanding means to the Little Dutchmen and his overall value of a player is A-C’s gaudy 16-2 overall mark.
Annville-Cleona figures to be a force to be reckoned with in the upcoming District Three Class AA postseason. And on Tuesday, the Little Dutchmen will challenge Lancaster Catholic in a showdown for first place in Section Four of the Lancaster-Lebanon League.
“I feel like I’m having a good season,” said Blanding. “I put in a lot of work during the preseason and over the summer. But when we’re 16-2, I’m not too concerned about anything individually.
“The key to our success has been just our improvement and our maturity,” Blanding added. “We’ve gotten a lot better. We’ve all stepped up. More this year than last year, everyone is doing their job. We’re really coming together.”
“He carries a lot of weight with what we do,” said Linebaugh of Blanding. “He’s been a big reason for our success. I haven’t run across that many more kids who want to get better and know how to get better than Trey. He’s all about Annville-Cleona basketball, on and off the court.”
With an eye on the district tournament, the Little Dutchmen are very much day-to-day and game-to-game in their approach. It has allowed Blanding to push the inevitable conclusion of his scholastic career to the back of his consciousness.
“I have thought about it a couple of times,” said Blanding. “Like when we’ve played certain teams in our section for the second time. It’s kind of like, ‘This is the last time I’m going to play against this team in my career.’
“I think I’ve had a pretty solid career,” continued Blanding. “I wish when I was younger that I would’ve been a little more aggressive. But I’m pleased with the way I’ve grown, on and off the court. And I have Coach and the guys to thank for that.”
“Both on and off the court, he leads by example,” said Linebaugh. “He leads with his play. He never gets too up and he never gets too down. There’s only a couple of people who know what he’s sacrificed to improve. He’s put in hours upon hours in the gym to become the player he is today.”
But the conclusion of Blanding’s high school career is far from the end of his playing days. His future plans include college and Division Three basketball.
“I’m planning on playing college basketball,” said Blanding. “It’s definitely one of the main things I’m looking forward to. I’ve been in contact with a fairly long list of Division Three schools who want me to come play. I probably won’t make a decision until some time this spring. I really haven’t been able to narrow it down at all.”