Warren Easton girls basketball coach Darius Mimms got a little emotional as he watched his star player sign her national letter of intent on Tuesday afternoon.

This wasn't just his best player.

Dene Mimms is also his daughter, making the day that much more special.

"I have a big heart when it comes to kids, especially mine," Mimms said.

Fortunately for the Mimms' family, they won't have to go far to watch her play.

Mimms, a 6-foot-5 forward, signed with Tulane.

"Going on the campus and visiting, I just loved the family atmosphere," Dene Mimms said. "It's close to home and when I play I will have a lot of support."

Mimms averaged 12 points, eight rebounds and four blocks as a junior and was named to The New Orleans Advocate's All-Metro Team after leading the Eagles to the second round of the Class 4A playoffs. She will miss most of her senior season after tearing her ACL this summer.

"I'm trying to be back for the playoffs and finish off with another ring," said Mimms, who won a state title her freshman year.

It's the second time she's been through this. She tore her other ACL two years ago, forcing her to miss her sophomore season. Going through the injury once has helped her this time.

"When I first got injured I was crying because it dawned on me that this was my last year," she said. "But after talking to people, I realized I can do this and it won't be as tough as it was the first time. I'm going to push even harder than I did the first time."

Her father admits it's tough not getting to coach his daughter, but admires how she still contributes.

"She's being a leader and not being selfish and just doing what she can to help the team," he said.

Before the injuries, Mimms had risen to as high as the 29th best player in the country in her class by one recruiting service. Alabama and Mississippi State were her other two finalists, but both schools backed off after her latest injury.

Mimms was one of two local players to sign with Tulane on Tuesday.

Dynah Jones of John Curtis also signed with the Wave.

Jones, a 5-10 guard, was also an all-metro selection last season after helping lead Curtis to the Division I state championship. She is ranked 64th nationally at her position, according to Collegiate Girls Basketball Report.

"Dynah has been on our radar since she was very young," Tulane coach Lisa Stockton said in a news release. "Each year she has added to her game and is a proven winner leading John Curtis to a state championship last year. Dynah is a complete player. Her versatility makes her an impressive combo guard."

Mimms and Jones played AAU basketball together.

"I like our chemistry playing together and that also helped me gravitate towards Tulane," Mimms said.

The Green Wave also landed two out-of-state players.

Erin Gutierrez (Hollywood, Florida) and Mia Heide (Austin, Texas) also signed.

"Dene has great potential to become an impact player in our program," Stockton said. "Her athleticism, length, and shot-blocking ability will help our defense. She can also score in many different ways. ... We're excited to get great local talent in Dene and Dynah. Both have established themselves on a national level."

Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.