This past off season during his transition from Southwestern Illinois Junior College, Trend concentrated on gaining weight and hitting the weight room at the Al McGuire Center, "being that I'm such a thin guy, strength is going to be an important factor in my game, so I really just concentrated on being focused and working as hard as I can in the weight room." This has helped Trend gain some weight over the off season. On GoMarquette.com, Trend is currently listed at 185 lbs. which is higher than his weight when he arrived on Marquette's campus.
The transition to Marquette hasn't been entirely easy for Trend.
"The adjustment with coming to Marquette has been hard," he said. "Things here are a lot faster paced. I am just trying to adjust as fast as I can."
Trend's adjustment should be eased by the fact that he is a hard worker who has been able to parlay that work ethic from being a player at a junior college in Illinois to a scholarship player at Marquette.
Coach Tom Crean noted Trend's work ethic and intensity in his media day press conference. According to Crean, this intensity stuck with him and other assistants during recruiting this past off season. Initially, they were at SWIC recruiting one of Trend's teammates, Lance Stemler, but came away everyday more and more impressed with things they were seeing from Trend in the gym.
One of the things that impressed Crean must have been Trend's shot-blocking ability.
"I hope to block a lot of shots," said Blackledge. " It's a little bit harder because people are more talented, but I'm starting to get used to the talent, so I still think I can maybe block three shots a game if I'm timing everything right."
During his two years at SWIC, Trend blocked 230 shots. This is forty-eight more blocked shots than Marquette's combined numbers over the last two seasons. If Trend is able to block three shots a game, this would match the average from last season and could potentially double the blocked shots by Marquette to 6.0 per game from 3.0 per game.
"We're going to concentrate on defense this year. I'm a shot blocker. I can alter some shots and I can make people think twice about coming into that lane." This concentration on defense and shot blocking by Blackledge is helped every day in Marquette practices where he competes against talented guards like Dominic James and Maurice Acker who love to drive the lane and according to Blackledge, "shoot really good floaters." This has allowed him to learn timing of shots more effectively and will hopefully continue to improve his shot blocking skills.
Trend hopes to continue to improve his offensive rebounding, shot blocking, and shooting while at the same time, keep gaining weight.
"I want to work hard, try to get into the rotation, and just win games and have fun," said Blackledge.
If we know anything about Tom Crean's coaching philosophy, it's that hard work will get you playing time. If Trend exhibits the hard work and intensity that got him to Marquette and puts up the type of shot blocking numbers he hopes to, it won't be long before we see him contributing on the court this season.