The Knights of St. Thomas Aquinas will be competing in the Regional Semis against Oberlin Wednesday night in Canton after a solid regular season and an equally good postseason run, and they're looking for more.
Matt Hackenberg, the head coach of the boys' team at St. Thomas Aquinas joined the Sam Bourquin Show Tuesday to talk about his squad and how they're playing their best basketball as the high school hoops season winds down.
After winning their fourth straight district title against Tuslaw, Coach Hackenberg said he's proud of his team and the effort they gave.
"I thought that (district title) was the most fulfilling to be able to do it against a Tuslaw team that had the resume and the clout they had attach to the season they were having, so out of all four, that was the sweetest," he said.
He says the three-headed monster of Jacob Paul, Logan Newman, and Gino Pellegrene has been key for them in the postseason and throughout the season, and he knows he'll need them along with the rest of the contributors for the Knights as they try to reach their ultimate goal.
First things first, they have to contend with Oberlin at the Fieldhouse Wednesday evening.
"We took a close look at what Oberlin does, and we've been trying to sharpen up our ballhandling," he says.
As the NFL Draft approaches, many people are asking about the Browns' quarterback prospects and one of the names that is popping up is Paxton Lynch, the former quarterback of the Memphis Tigers.
Allen "B.J." Johnson coached Paxton in high school at Trinity Christian in Deltona, Florida. He's coached Paxton since the sixth grade, and he's proud of him both on and off the field.
He says a lot of NFL scouts have been calling him, asking about his former signal-caller.
"He's a great kid," says Johnson. "He has no character issues, and if you don't draft him, you will regret it," he says with confidence.
Johnson says he compares favorably to current NFL quarterbacks Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick due to his size, arm strength, and escapability in the pocket. While at Memphis, he guided the Tigers to a 9-3 record and an appearance in the Birmigham Bowl against Auburn.
Coach Johnson says Paxton won't be concerned if he lands to the Browns, who have had their struggles with quarterbacks, but he knows his will to win and desire to succeed will see him through.
There's going to be a big district championship matchup between the Tuslaw Mustangs and the St. Thomas Aquinas Knights at Salem H.S. in Division III Friday and there's a winning streak on the line for one of the area's top teams.
Kevin Lower, the head coach of the undefeated Mustangs joined the Sam Bourquin Show to talk about the matchup and what he sees not only in his club, but in the Knights as well.
"This should be a great game, two programs that have been to the regionals the last few years, hopefully both teams play their best, and the fans get their money's worth," Lower said.
Coach said the Mustangs' (23-0) halfcourt defense needs to be strong, and they need to limit the Knights' points in transition.
Lower says his young men haven't thought about the streak and have the "next game up" mentality which he says is necessary for success.
"Right now we're 3-0 and to be perfect in the tournament it's 8-0 and that's all we're thinking about now."
One of the players a lot of the experts have the Cleveland Browns taking with the #2 overall pick is former Cal quarterback Jared Goff, and we reached out to his high school coach to give us some insight into what makes the signal-caller from the west coast tick.
Mazi Moyaed, the head coach of Marin Catholic HS in California joined Brad Russell in the Average Sports Show to talk about his former QB and the leadership he brings on and off the football field.
When asked about what kind of leader he was in high school, Mazi said he exemplified leadership and confidence throughout his time at Marin Catholic.
"He's a great player obviously, phenomenal leader, he's always been one of the guys," Moyaed said. "He's embraced by the community, and he embraces the community, he gives people his time, he's well-mannered, but when he's on the field, he's very competitive."
Mazi says scouts have been calling him asking about Goff, his maturation over the years, and how his skill set translates to the NFL. Moyaed says that Goff's smarts set him apart from everyone else and he always stays calm and cool under pressure.
"He really processes things well and just gets it going."
Two of Stark County's better teams will square off at the Canton Civic Center Thursday for a right to move on in the state tournament.
North Canton Hoover head boy's basketball coach Todd Blackledge joined the Sam Bourquin Show to talk about the Vikings' buying in to the program and playing well at the right time.
"We're excited to play tomorrow night and see if we can earn another 32 minutes," Todd said. "Our chemistry is at our best, our skill level is as good as it's been and our toughness and grit has come to the forefront here in the last couple of weeks."
The Vikings are led by seniors Eli Blackledge (Todd's son) and Nathan Fox, and coach Blackledge says there will be some challenges posed by the tough-minded McKinley Bulldogs on Thursday.
UFC 196 is right around the corner this Saturday and one of the fighters we spoke with is getting ready to step inside the Octagon against another fast-rising name in the fight world.
Miesha Tate joined Brad Russell in the Average Sports Show Wednesday to talk about her fight against Holly Holm Saturday night in the UFC women's bantamweight title matchup in Las Vegas.
Tate says she's trained hard and is ready for anything Holm will throw her way.
"I know I have all the tools I need to beat someone like Holly, and I'm prepared for that, I've prepared for anything and everything."
Tate comes into this matchup with a record of 17-5 including a 4-fight win streak. She and Holm will co-headline a card featuring a bout with Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz.
Miesha's nickname "Cupcake" is a bit of a misnomer, condsidering she's no cupcake in the Octogon. She talks about the origin of the nickname and how she was underestimated earlier in her career.
"People underestimated me because I'm feminine, I like to do my hair and makeup, and people would say 'This girl can't fight, she's a cupcake,' and I would beat them up, and the name stuck, and it's a little bit of comedy, saying you can't judge a book by it's cover."
Think you can sing? Well the Akron RubberDucks are giving you a chance to sing the national anthem before a Ducks game.
The team will hold auditions on March 12th from 1-3pm at Canal Park.
Team spokesman Adam Liberman explains the process.
"They are going to be judged," Liberman tells WAKR.net. "They will get 90 seconds so no long drawn out anthems. They get to sing outside and we get to hear them over the loud speaker. What a neat opportunity especially if you can sing and have a love for baseball."
And with social media today, there's always a chance an audition could go viral.
"Who knows maybe they will be the next American Idol hero or social media sensation." Liberman said. "How cool is it to do it in front of a packed house before a fireworks game and just the buzz of the station. It's just an experience someone will never forget."
WIth open auditions there can be renditions on each end of the spectrum.
"There's some people you know within five seconds, 'you know you could stop and get out of the cold you're excellent ," Liberman said. "Then there are other people you want to get the gong out or the big hook out and get them out of there and speed it up."
If you want to give it a shot you will need to pre-register by calling the RubberDucks at 330-253-5151 during regular business hours.
One of the Cleveland Indians' starting pitchers is ready to take his talents to the next level and continue to contribute every fifth day.
Danny Salazar joined our own Sam Bourquin out in Goodyear, Arizona as part of Wahoo Week on 1590 WAKR, and Danny says he's anxious for the season to get started.
"The more we play here (in Arizona), the more ready we get for the season," he says.
Salazar says he's been working hard in the offseason, working on his fastball a little bit, which he says is his best pitch.
"It doesn't matter how hard you throw," Danny says. "If you can learn to locate that fastball, that's the key to a successful career."
Danny says his favorite part about being in the big leagues is enjoying time with his teammates and coming to the ballpark and competing.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are coming off a close win against the Indiana Pacers Monday, but still have some chemistry questions that need answered.
Sam Amico from Amico Hoops.net joined the Sam Bourquin Show to talk about the Cavs trying to find their identity and some of the questions surrounding point guard Kyrie Irving and his feelings about being in Cleveland.
"You knew it was going to be tough, because everybody brings their best game against the Cavs because they have LeBron James," Amico said. "The Pacers always play the Cavaliers tough, and they brought it last night."
As far as the scuttlebutt surrounding Irving, Amico said Kyrie's alleged unhappiness in Cleveland starts with Irving himself.
As far as the team themselves, Sam says they've been struggling from the perimeter, and it's been showing in these games so far.
District semifinals are approaching and the undefeated Copley Indians will be preparing to face the Lake Blue Streaks on Thursday.
Mark Dente the head coach of the Indians joined the Sam Bourquin Show Tuesday to talk about Tom McBride's team and what the young men can expect from the Blue Streaks in a couple of days.
"It's a tough district semifinal, no doubt about it," says Dente. "It's going to be a contrast of styles, they're trying to slow the game down, we're trying to speed the game up, so we'll see what happens."
Copley (23-0) feels like they will have to keep Lake in the low 60's in order to have a chance to win at the end, and even though they are undersized, they will get after it with anybody.
Dente says he knows his young men are excited to lace em' up and bring their 'A' game against the Blue Streaks.
"They don't feel pressure, they just want to go out and just keep winning," he says.
The NFL Combine has come and gone, and many NFL teams have a clearer picture of how they will select the top players coming out for the 2016 draft.
SB Nation's Dan Kadar joined Brad Russell in the Average Sports Show Monday to talk about some of the winners and losers from the combine, as well as who the Browns will select with their #2 overall selection.
Kadar said both Cal's Jared Goff and North Dakota State's Carson Wentz are both prime contenders to take over the reins at quarterback. He says that you have to go with the proven commodity, and he thinks that's Jared Goff.
"You have to go with the guy who's going to immediately jump in and be good right away, and that's Goff," he said.
"Both of them have really positive skill sets, and that's what's going to make it a hard decision."
The University of Akron men's basketball team is 22-7 heading into their final two regular-season games of the year, and they have a good amount of confidence as the post season is fast approaching.
Zips coach Keith Dambrot spoke with Sam Bourquin during Wahoo Week in Goodyear, Arizona to talk about his team and how they are doing heading into the home stretch.
The Zips beat up Bowling Green Friday night 89-54 at the JAR Arena, where Dambrot says the guys picked up their level of play.
"We just tried to get our guys to relax and have fun with it," Dambrot said. "You can't get too high when things go well, and you can't get too down when things go poorly."
The Zips will take on the Ohio Bobcats tomorrow at 8 p.m. and will finish up the regular season with their rival Kent State before the MAC Tournament in Cleveland.
"We've spent a lot of time trying to be better offensively, we've had to adjust playing without Pat Forsythe, so we've had to split some time with Kwan Cheatham and Big Dog (Isaiah Johnson)."
Spring Training is in full swing for the Cleveland Indians, and one of their pitchers is coming off an arduous rehab and is ready to to get back on the mound and contribute.
T.J. House spoke with Sam Bourquin out in Goodyear, Arizona Monday to talk about coming back from the shoulder problems that the
"I'm excited to be back, I feel like baseball's been on the back burner for me for at least a year, so it's good to get back out here and get going."
T.J. said he's feeling good and doesn't have any limitations health-wise, but he knows that he's going to pick up more knowledge and improve on his game while in camp.
House said he mastered his curveball while at the big-league level, and adds that to his pitching repetoire, along with his fastball and slider.
"They first developed my change-up here, and then they started working on my curveball, so 2014 was when I started getting comfortable throwing my curveball."
The NFL Combine is in full swing, and many notable college football players are doing their 40-yard dashes, cone drills, and other drills, ahead of the biggest job interviews of their lives.
Chris Trapasso from CBSSports.com and NFL.com joined Brad Russell in the Average Sports Show on a Friday to talk about the notable running backs that performed well at the combine today including Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliot, Alabama Heisman Trophy Winner Derrick Henry, and former Georgia running back Keith Marshall, who overcame a rash of injuries to show well in Indianapolis.
Trapasso said the NFL looks at the combine in many different facets and the 40-yard dash is still an important aspect of the combine.
"For a guy like Keith Marshall, who may not have been drafted, he runs a 4.3 40-yard dash, and may get drafted in the mid-rounds now," he said.
Some of the more important aspects of the process is the interview process, and Chris said former OSU defensive standout Joey Bosa displayed a good sense of confidence speaking to the media and scouts during the Combine.
"For him to say that he's the best player in the draft, you want to see that, you want to see that supreme confidence in a supreme prospect," he explained.