Illinois high school boys varsity basketball game between the Caravan of Mount Carmel from Chicago and the Crusaders of Brother Rice from Chicago, at Brother Rice on January 10, 2020, in Chicago. (photo by Vincent D. Johnson).

What Makes It One of One of the Best?

Balconies are cool. If there’s one thing in common with a lot of gyms high on people’s lists of best gyms, it’s balconies or some form of upper deck.

The view from the balcony just above one of the baselines, Brother Rice H.S., Chicago, Dec. 2021. (photo by Vincent D. Johnson)
Visiting Richards’ fans lean against the balcony rail at Brother Rice H.S., in Chicago on Friday, Dec. 17, 2021. (photo by Vincent D. Johnson)

Brother Rice doubled down on this on both baselines, placing a bathroom and other rooms directly at both ends of the court, with a balcony on each side holding about 7 or 8 rows of seating above those rooms. With the baseline stopping about 5 feet from the walls on each end and the balconies beginning about 9 feet off the court, fans have a unique view that is seriously close to the basket. With visiting team’s student sections often filling in one of those balconies it can get pretty personal between the crowd and players on that end.

As with many older gyms there is a physical stage built on one end of the gym, so the majority of bleachers are directly facing the stage.

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