Marquis Cooley | Reporter
No matter the time or day, there’s one fan you can always count on to be watching when the men’s basketball team plays at the Ferrell Center: Baylor sports super fan Chris Fuentes. Fuentes started going to games when he was 8 years old because of his grandmother working in the Baylor admissions department.
“Back then, the athletic department gave tickets away for both football and basketball,” Fuentes said. “I actually went to my first football game when I was eight. Shortly after that, basketball season started, so I started going to those, and I went kind of on and off. It was when people would take me. But then once I was able to start driving, I became a season ticket holder.”
Fuentes has been to every men’s basketball home game since 1999 and often makes trips to away games as well. He loves to enjoy the games with his family, and through his passion and support for the school, he’s made a few friends who are also huge supporters of Baylor sports, like Travis Carver (aka T-Rex), who’s been to more than a few games with Fuentes.
“He’s just so much fun to watch a game with because he gets so excited,” Carver said. “He’s so energetic. He’s watched Baylor basketball for so long that anytime Baylor does something good, he’s happy about it. But then if we have a bad turnover or if we lose a game, he really takes it personally, I feel like because he’s just been there so long. It’s like he’s part of the program, and a lot of people see that.”
Fuentes can usually be spotted behind the opposing team’s bench wearing a Baylor jersey with a hat and shooting sleeve, yelling his unique form of trash talk that’s hard to dispute.
“He [Fuentes] uses stats and things that you know are true,” Carver said. “He’s not talking about like the guy’s girlfriend breaking up with him or something. He’s actually bringing up a rebound percentage or win-loss from last year. He just knows so much about the game that he knows how to twist it into a funny heckle.”
Fuentes actually takes the time to research the information he uses to get under the other team’s skin and even keeps a notebook of stats that he updates regularly.
“I’ve got home and away splits,” Fuentes said. “How many free throws we’ve taken at home, how many free throws our opponent has taken at the court. I actually stopped doing rebounds, threes and turnovers, but I used to do that for every game. So I’m a bit of a numbers nerd when it comes to that, and I do it for all 10 teams in the Big 12.”
Fuentes said he decided to use stats as his source of trash talk because he enjoys quieting opposing fans as well as it being more effective towards opposing teams.
“Saying things like, ‘Oh you suck,’ that’s not really trash talk to me,” Fuentes said. “But when you can let Shaka Smart know from four rows away that he’s two and ten against us, that hits much harder than ‘You suck.'”
Fuentes has become well-known throughout the Baylor basketball program, forming great relationships with players such as former Bear Roscoe Biggers who used to talk to him before every game and Taurean Prince who gave him a game worn jersey. And while Fuentes has a few all-time favorite players, including Pierre Jackson, Quincy Acy and Ishmail Wainright, this has been one of Fuentes’ favorite seasons to experience. Fuentes has high hopes for the Bears going into the NCAA Tournament and plans on taking a trip to Indianapolis if Baylor reaches the Final Four for what he considers a “once in a lifetime experience.”
“I always feel that the NCAA comes down to guard play,” Fuentes said. “And we’ve got the best set of guards in the country, in my opinion. Lowest case scenario, honestly, I see us going to the Final Four. I don’t see anybody beating us until then.”
Although Fuentes doesn’t see his impressive streak ending anytime soon, he said he hopes to one day turn his love for the team into a job with Baylor Athletics to improve the community’s support of the team.
“I think with the programs that we have,” Fuentes said, “and as awesome as they are, both men and women, we don’t have near enough fan support. I’ve put it out that I would love to go out and attack the attendance problem.”