Musicians behind Baylor basketball motivate Bears on, off the court

The Ferrell Center relies on music from the Courtside Players and DJ Batman to keep the audience hyped up and engaged. Kenneth Prabhakar | Photo Editor

By Tyler White | Reporter

Between the sounds of screaming fans, whistling referees and squeaking shoes, Courtside Players and DJs do their best to elevate the crowd’s energy and the team’s morale throughout basketball games in the Ferrell Center.

Grapevine senior Austin Lehman, a trumpet player for the Courtside Players, said the group has a set list of songs and sections for key moments in the games.

“When we want to disrupt the opposing team, we’ll play ‘Kashmir,’” Lehman said. “If we want to bring the energy up, we’ll play Rage Against the Machine songs.”

For Lehman, music is more than just notes on a page. He said being a part of the Courtside Players gives him the chance to express a different side of himself.

“Having the opportunity to bring out the more energetic side of myself, to provide that energy that is needed for the game — it really is something that I enjoy doing,” Lehman said.

While the Courtside Players are usually playing their instruments, Lehman said there is more to the group than music. Throughout the games, members join in on chants, scream at referees and go crazy when the team hits a 3-pointer.

“We’re doing all that but also providing energy, both when we play and when we don’t,” Lehman said. “We want to draw the crowd out to make them have a better time and have a bit more energy to cheer on the team.”

James Lewis, who goes by DJ Batman, is one of the DJs during games at the Ferrell Center. Lewis came to Baylor following the era of Brittney Griner.

“The crowd kind of depends on the DJ,” Lewis said. “You got to keep them kind of excited. Even when things aren’t going that way, you have to keep them involved.”

Lewis said being able to DJ for Baylor athletics is a dream come true. With decades of experience, he said he has been able to use his skills to keep the crowd engaged.

“When there’s a low point in the game, I kind of play something enjoyable, not really hype,” Lewis said. “But right when we’re kind of making a comeback and we took the lead, then that’s when it gets a little bit more exciting, a little bit louder.”

While hyping up the crowd is a major part of his job, Lewis said he also energizes the athletes. By amplifying the atmosphere, he boosts team morale.

“I support the athletes,” Lewis said. “That’s one thing. I support the athletes because without the athletes, there is no Baylor.”

Tyler White is a senior Journalism major from Yorba Linda, California, with minors in religion and philosophy. He is most looking forward to developing his writing and reporting craft in the Lariat and to work alongside other writers. As a member of the Baylor Coed Cheer team, he enjoys supporting all Baylor sports. After graduation, he plans on going to grad school and eventually working in publication for the music industry.