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.
The Suburban League will be welcoming two new head football coaches into its ranks for the upcoming season, and both men are ready to hit the ground running.
Justin Todd, the new head coach of the Wadsworth Grizzlies joined the Sam Bourquin Show to talk about his new gig and what he's going to do to put his imprint on the program.
"I just can't be more estatic about being in Wadsworth, and I'm chomping at the bit to get started," said Todd. " It's going to be important to meet with each one of my players and their families and they can hear my philosophy and where I envision this program going."
Todd was the head coach of Loudonville and Mount Vernon previously before becoming the next head coach of the Grizzlies.
Alan Vanderink will be leading the Tallmadge Blue Devil football program in 2016, and he's ready to roll up his sleeves and get things going.
He previously worked under coach Scott Chouinard at Copley and he says he will take a lot of what he learned with him to Tallmadge.
"Coach Chouinard did a great job of making sure he built a family-type atmosphere within that locker room with those kids and that community," he said.
Vanderink says he's excited about the challenge Tallmadge brings and their tradition in football.
"You're not coming into a job where they've been unsuccessful for 15 years, but there's great support from the administration and the community."
Spring training baseball is right around the corner, and the Cleveland Indians are getting ready to roll in Goodyear, Arizona.
Matt Loede, from NEOSportsInsiders.com joined Brad to talk a little Tribe as they get ready for the long season, starting with Opening Day April 4.
The major question heading into the season is will the Indians have enough offense to sustain themselves game in and game out, especially with All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley out for an extended period of time with a shoulder injury.
"He appears to be on track to come back quickly, but you don't want a situation where you force him back early and he gets re-injured and tries to overcompensate," Loede said.
Fans are also looking to see more production out of Carlos Santana, who the club is toying with the idea of having him hit leadoff. Loede said in spring training, there's many things teams try to do to make things better.
The Browns are in a position to draft a top-notch quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft, and there are a couple of guys on the team's radar.
Longtime Walsh Jesuit head football coach Gerry Rardin (now retired) spokewith Brad about the exlpoits of former Warrior signal caller and Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook and how his resilency and mental fortitude will serve him well moving forward to the NFL.
"He just worked on every possible area of his game," said Rardin. "His best trait is that he never let the last play bother him."
During his career at Michigan State, he bested current Washington Redskins' quarterback Kirk Cousins' mark for most wins by a QB in Spartan history.
The other big name that people have been talking about is former North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz, whose stock rose after a solid week of practice at the Senior Bowl.
Ron Wingenback, the head coach of Century High School in North Dakota also joined Brad to talk about his former quarterback and what he brings to the football field.
"Carson's a very good learner," Ron said. "He wanted to know everything he needed to know about the opponent, and that made him a very good quarterback in high school and in college."
The Kenmore Cardinals took care of business earlier in the week when they defeated Canton South 57-52 in the first round of the Division II boys' basketball sectional semifinals.
Head Coach Brian Dawson joined the Sam Bourquin Show to talk about his squad and how they continue to fight and scrap their way to victory.
He said what worked against Canton South was the defensive press that took them out of their offense and led to fast break points for the Cardinals.
"They rushed some shots, we were able to get some rebounds and turn them into points, plus we were aggressive offensively,"said Dawson.
Some of the players who have been key for Kenmore all season long include seniors Deon'ta Collins, Erik Palmer, and Deneris Hopkins, among others.
The Cardinals will take on Norton in the next round of the playoffs. The two teams played earlier in the year, with Kenmore taking a 59-50 victory.
"To be honest with you, this game is a 50-50 toss up, if we play, we can win, if we don't, Norton can surely beat us," Dawson said.