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Official Review by Paul Derrick, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Houston Baptist Huskies are located in downtown Houston and are currently a member of the Great West Conference, but will be moving to the Southland Conference in 2013. The Huskies play their home games at Sharp Gymnasium which was built in 1964 and isn't much bigger than your local high school gym with the capacity to hold only 1,500. However, the small size can make a small rowdy student section seem a lot bigger than they are. Houston Baptist is one of the smallest division one schools in the nation with only about 2,200 students so Sharp Gymnasium does fit them to a T.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
If you are hungry and planning on attending a game at Sharp Gymnasium, then make sure you go grab a bite to eat before the game. The options are very limited at Sharp Gymnasium. I have been there numerous times and the options are usually just delivery pizza or hot dogs with chili. The drink options are usually just 12 oz sodas, but everything is fairly priced. With the limited amount of options I would highly advise going to eat before or after the game.
With Sharp Gymnasium being so small it does make for an intimate atmosphere for college basketball. The fans, cheerleaders, and student section do a great job in making Sharp Gymnasium loud and difficult for most teams that are visiting. The arena only has eight rows of bleachers on both sides that are right on the court so you have a great view no matter where you are sitting. The Huskies have banners hanging up in the arena to commemorate some of their better teams throughout the years. The small scoreboard on the end court isn't anything amazing, just pretty much what you would see in any high school gym.
Houston Baptist is located in the Sharpstown/Chinatown area which isn't the best place to hang out after dark. There are however a couple of good places to grab a bite to eat.
One spot is the Tan Tan Restaurant, which is crowd favorite offering a combination of Vietnamese and Cantonese food. The house specialty hot pot is very popular, and most tables you see will have a steaming pot of broth in the center surrounded by platters of fresh vegetables, dumplings and thinly sliced meats ready to be cooked. If you are looking for something to quench your thirst I advise an ice cold Tsingtao beer or one of the non-alcoholic options like the red bean coconut milk which is quite tasty.
Another spot I recommend is the East Wall Chinese Restaurant which is a relative newcomer. Although common dishes like walnut shrimp and hot and sour soup are on the menu, East Wall's best dishes are the adventurous ones, like the salted, egg-battered spare ribs, or the tasty noodle-like jelly fish appetizer.
Both of these places are great options but I would advise stopping by before the game rather than after.
The fans at Sharp Gymnasium are absolutely awesome, and one of the best I have seen at a small school like Houston Baptist. The problem is there aren't enough to warrant a bigger score. The student section of about fifty students is awesome, and they do their best to give the Huskies a great home court advantage. Most of the fans in attendance are students, parents or former alumni, but in the majority of games I have attended at Sharp Gymnasium they always come out to support the Huskies well.
Access to and from Sharp Gymnasium is a breeze once you can actually find it. Finding Sharp Gymnasium on the Houston Baptist campus can be a tad difficult if you don't know where you are going. Once you do finally make it you will see that there is plenty of free parking right at the gymnasium. Inside you will see two sets of bathrooms which are easily accessible and I never noticed a long line even during peak times.
Tickets to Sharp Gymnasium are right on point at $7 for all tickets. Houston Baptist may not be some of the best basketball in Division I, and the Great West may not be a power conference, but if you are in the area a trip to Sharp Gymnasium is well worth the cost.
There are not a whole lot of extras at Sharp Gymnasium, but I will give one point to Houston Baptist University for making their way to the Southland Conference. I am sure with this move they should be able to recruit a lot better. My second point goes to the student section. To be such a small university, the students do a great job at showing up to Sharp Gymnasium and do their best to provide the home team with the upper hand.
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6816 Ranchester Dr
Houston, TX 77036
9889 Bellaire Blvd
Houston, TX 77036
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