IN STEP WITH ... Amber Bland

Do you ever wish you had a more exciting last name?
[Laughs] No.
Do you get that a lot?
Yeah. Everyone tells me it's kinda bland.
Is it true you can dunk now?
Almost. It doesn't want to go in. It just bounces off the rim. I'll definitely get it my junior year.
Three best players you've seen?
Barbara Turner from Cleveland East Tech, [Boardman senior] Ashlee Russo, [Ursuline sophomore] Courtney Davidson. Everyone thinks Courtney and I don't like each other, but that's not true. We're just competitive.
Something you're insecure about?
[Laughs] My legs. I hate them so much. They're so long and they're muscular. I hate wearing skirts.
Favorite basketball memory of your father?
A between the legs, spinning dunk in a Pride game. I just remember watching and saying, "Wow, that's my daddy!" I don't remember very many Pride games, but I remember that dunk.
Considering Bobby Knight only coaches men, how do you feel about playing for a less vocal coach in college?
[Laughs] When you see a coach yelling at you, you get more motivated. I can't stand quiet coaches. Tell me something; don't just sit there. Of course, you don't have to throw chairs.
Where's your favorite place to play?
I really like it here [at Boardman]. It's a wide court and it's long and the rims are nice.
Last movie you cried at?
"Hardball." That movie is so sad. The boy dies at the end. I admit it; I cried.
Something people are shocked to find out about you?
I'm really shy. I'm outgoing sometimes too. It's a weird match-up. Also, I'd like to be a physical therapist.
Three albums in your CD player right now?
Before each game I listen to the same CD. It has R. Kelly, one12 and Ludacris.
Who's your best friend on the team?
[Sophomore] Brittany Durkin. She's my girl. I've known her since preschool.
One word to describe yourself?
Do high jumpers ever talk trash to each other?
[Laughs] No. They ask you how you're doing and tell you 'Good jump.'
Hardest thing about being a student and an athlete?
I think it's good to accomplish things both ways. If I do well on my schoolwork, I'm happy. I have a 3.4 [grade point average] and I'm proud of that. Hopefully, I'll move it up soon.
Who are your heroes?
My parents. They mean a lot to me and they really live up to their responsibilities as parents. They're good role models. I think that's important.
If you could live one day over, which would it be?
I don't know. I really cherish every day.
Have you had someone come up to you outside of school and say, "Go get 'em, Amber"?
[Laughs] Yeah, one guy followed me around at Phar-Mor and another guy saw me at the gas station and told me to go get 'em.
Did that make you want to go get 'em?
Yeah. It's nice to get recognized.

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