Basketball Team Managers Discuss the Power of Music


Dustin Hewitt

Kriss Garcia and Camden Long stand in the center after winning the Mountainside tournament

Joshua Berk, Arts and Entertainment

For three years now Camden Long and Kriss Garcia have been Team Managers for Mountainside Basketball, together they have helped shape Mountainside’s Basketball program into what it is today. Recently I sat down with the two to talk about the influence of music on the team and their lives outside of school. 

Joshua Berk: How do you two create playlists for basketball practices?

Kriss Garcia: Not practices. We have set playlists for games. At practices, we just rotate through player requests and make sure they are clean.

Camden Long: Occasionally they are not.

Joshua B: And the game playlists?

Camden L: That is mostly Kriss.

Kriss G: I make sure that the playlist is clean and has what the players want to hear before the game. I like to have a rotation so it is not the same every time. First I start with a heavy bass song, followed by a softer hip hop song second or third. At some point during warmups, Hewitt pulls the players out-

Camden L: This is my favorite part.

Kriss G: There will be some sort of pre-game talk or adjustment in the rotation. At that point, I go back while Camden follows the players, and I play something a little more unorthodox for a pregame. This usually ranges from early 2000s Beyonce to late 2000s Taylor Swift. Something that more people can enjoy.

Camden L: All I Want For Christmas Is You played for a while.

Kriss G: Holiday spirit. The JV coach Cantrell requested an opera song. I played the song and it boomed through the gym. The parents loved it and the players had a field day in the hallway.

Camden L: Oh yeah we were going crazy.

Joshua B: Are there any songs in the frequent rotation?

Kriss G: Hot Remix by Young Thug.

Joshua B: The one with Travis Scott?

Camden L: Yup.

Joshua B: Having been to a Travis Scott concert with the two of you, I know that you both are pretty big fans. Are there any other artists you two share feelings about?

Camden L: Kriss and I’s tastes in music stay relatively the same within the realm of hip hop, and kind of R&B as well. The artist that comes to mind is Juto, but that is pretty much the extent of it. Kriss has some songs that I know he likes and I stray a little more into the alternative side.

Kriss G: Yeah we both like Juto a lot. Camden does steer more into alternative music. His taste is a little too experimental for me. I like comfort and compare it to my fashion sense. I wear darker colors because I am not a very colorful person. Recently I have started wearing a pink jacket to branch out, but that is only one thing.

Joshua B: You did say one of your favorite albums is Oracular Spectacular by MGMT. Isn’t that more alternative?

Camden L: Oooh.

Kriss G: Oh yeah! That was a little more experimental for me at the time, even though MGMT is pretty mainstream. A lot of people listen to them and the artists they influence, like Kid Cudi and Tame Impala. Now the most experimental thing I listen to frequently is honestly cumbia. Cumbia is a Colombian style of music that I enjoy. Going very deep into the roots of Latin culture music is very appealing to me.

Joshua B: How do you determine if a song fits the right mood and energy for the game rotation?

Kriss G: Practice is a big part of this. I don’t think there is a single song I played at a game that was not played at practice and received positive feedback.

Camden L: What was the song you played when Bennet made like thirty in a row?

Kriss G: 1942 Flows by Meek Mill.

Camden L: I walk in the door and Bennet is shooting 30 in a row while singing along to the song. Stuff like that is kind of how we know what works and what doesn’t. Sometimes people come by and ask for… weirder songs. Connor and Mitch used to come by earlier in the season to request Octopus Garden by the Beatles, and we played that for a while, but some of the players came by and say if we play crap like that they will be pissed. We get a lot of feedback and we try to find a way to fit players requests into a game-time playlist.

Joshua B: Who do you think has the most interesting taste of the players?

Camden L: Connor for me. I think it’s funny. Not because it’s bad or anything, but when we talk about music he either seems to be listening to something pre-2000s or Post Malone. He loves Post Malone. Our junior year Connor and I made a CD for his car and it was all classic 2000s throwback hits. We spent a lot of time on that and it was fantastic.

Joshua B: You mentioned CDs and, having seen your process for making those, I can say that each one is uniquely tailored. Do you think that the pre-game rotations are like CDs where you tailor it for the team or the audience?

Camden L: It’s more for the atmosphere.

Kriss G: Definitely the atmosphere, but more so the equilibrium. Sorenson and parents will get pissed if there is a song with a bad word in it, but all the same my biggest interest is how the players will play. Something needs to play to get their heads bobbing and the energy going.

Joshua B: What do the adults think of the music at games?

Kriss G: They like the alternative songs I play. Especially Mitch’s dad. He makes sure I know about it and says great job. I hear a lot of snickers and compliments in general, but I never hear anything about the hip hop songs. It is just not for them.

Joshua B: Do you think choosing the music gives you a sort of home-court advantage?

Camden L: Yes.

Kriss G: Yes.

Camden L: Yeah everyone else’s playlist sucks. I’ve never been to a school and been like “Oh I’m glad they’re playing this song.” Who was that one school-

Kriss G: Dallas. Remember Dallas?

Camden L: Ok well that was sophomore year. In two years we have had one school where the pre-game music was good. They all suck. I think it was Benson… was it Benson that did the tournament?

Kriss G: Franklin.

Camden L: Franklin! They played, well for one they played the exact same songs as the year before, and it was terrible. There was like Hold On We’re Going Home by Drake, some Macklemore song was on it.

Kriss G: It was chronological. Because it started with the Eminem song. The mom’s spaghetti one.

Camden L: Uhhhh Lose Yourself?

Kriss G: Lose yourself. That was the oldest one, then like Airplanes by BOB at some point. The final songs when we were getting shots up were like SICKO MODE and some other recent songs.

Camden L: I liked SICKO MODE because of the context, but other than that it was terrible.

Joshua B: What tends to be playing when manager mode is off and you guys are hanging out?

Kriss G: It depends on whose car we are in.

Camden L: I got CDs in mine.

Kriss G: They are very mellow. Not a lot of big bass.

Camden L: That’s where Kriss comes in.

Kriss G: In [my car] Eleanor we’re probably listening… as of late probably listening to the January playlist. But if not, like if I were going to Ethnic [Food Wednesdays] we are probably listening to my rap playlist. It’s pretty similar to the game one, but more tailored to me and my taste. I add songs that maybe players wouldn’t like, but it’s my mood so it is for me.

Joshua B: Kriss if you were to make a CD for Camden what artists would be on it?

Kriss G: Bon Iver

Camden L: Facts

Kriss G: Angelo

Camden L: Oh yeah! That’s another one we both like a lot. Angelo. Didn’t he make vines for a while?

Kriss G: Yeah he was Dope Island

Camden L: Dopeisland! I love it

Joshua B: Camden if you were to make a CD for Hewitt what do you think would be on it? 

Camden: Oh what does Hewitt play man? 

Kriss G: Bob Seager. When we ask Hewitt about music he says he doesn’t listen to music, he listens to podcasts. He is very big on information. He’s got a great mind and a great basketball mind.

Joshua B: Would you ever do a coach podcast?

Kriss G: I don’t think so… too much pressure already.

Joshua B: Thank you so much for your time. Any closing remarks?

Kriss G: Wool by Juto is out now. Go ahead and listen I think anybody can enjoy that album

Camden L: If you want to listen to a guy who makes vines who also makes music, what is it called… Love Over Fear? Yeah, Love Over Fear. Out now. Go ahead and take a listen


Mountainside Boys Basketball just came off of a big win against Beaverton the annual Stuff the Stables game. Hopefully you can catch them extending their five game win streak tomorrow on February 11th against Jesuit.