Roland Daniels knew how those pickup basketball games among his three sons were always going to end.
It never failed when R.J., Marcel and Caleb Daniels were in the gym hooping.
"Every time we left the gym, somebody was bleeding," Roland recalls. "It was always physical. But I guess it all paid off in the end."
Caleb, the youngest of the three boys, followed right in his older brothers footsteps Wednesday, becoming the third of the Daniels clan to choose to play basketball in his hometown.
Daniels, an honor student at St. Augustine, signed Wednesday to play at Tulane.
His older brother R.J. played at Xavier, and Marcell started off at Dillard before transferring to SUNO, where he now plays.
"Basketball is huge in my family," Caleb said. "I had the opportunity to sit back and watch my two older brothers go at it for years, and now it's my turn to leave an everlasting impact and end it the right way."
Connie Daniels knows just how important her two oldest sons were in the development of her youngest son.
"Caleb learned a lot from them," she said. "He was the youngest, but they didn't take it easy on him. He was either going to measure up or back down and he measured up."
And that was evident during this past season at St. Augustine.
Daniels, a 6-foot-4 guard/forward, averaged 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Purple Knights and led the team to the Division I semifinals his senior season.
He was named to the second team on the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 5A all-state team. Coaches in the Catholic League also voted him Most Valuable Player in the district. His high-flying dunks created plenty of highlight-reel moments.
"Tulane is getting a student-athlete," St. Aug coach Mitchell Johnson said. "He's a real humble kid who loves basketball and loves school. Tulane will be blessed to have Caleb on their campus."
Daniels was also considering Louisiana-Lafayette, UNO, Texas State, Rice, VCU, and UNC-Asheville. But instead, he chose Tulane, just a few blocks away from his Uptown home.
"I felt it was the right fit for me," said Daniels, who plans to major in mass communication. "Coming in as a freshman, I can make a big impact on the program and academically it has a lot to offer. It's an amazing feeling to represent my city."
At first, Connie Daniels thought there was a chance her son may buck the family trend and head off to school out of town.
"Caleb is a homebody, but he was looking to go away," she said. "But when we sat and talked to Tulane, we fell in love with Tulane. To be able to be coached by Mike Dunleavy was a big plus."
Daniels is the third member of the Green Wave’s signing class, joining Bul Ajang and Buay Koka from The Patrick School (N.J.). Ajang and Koka signed letters of intent during the NCAA’s early signing period in November.
“We are extremely excited with Caleb’s decision to pick Tulane as his college of choice,” Dunleavy said. “He is an outstanding wing player who plays with great intensity at both ends of the floor, and it’s very positive for us to bring in a local talent who will be a great addition to our team.”
Daniels decision should make things a bit easier for his parents, who will have to juggle their schedule between Tulane and SUNO games.
Marcel, entering his final season at SUNO, admits he wishes the two schools played each other. But on this day, he and R.J. watched from the stands as their little brother signed his name on his national letter of intent in the middle of the St. Aug gym, where all three played high school ball.
R.J. graduated from St. Aug in 2012, and Marcel two years later in 2014.
"We were pretty rough on him, making it hard on him," Marcel said about those pickup games. "My older brother did it to me and I did it to Caleb. We knew making it hard on him would pay off in the future. Today, it did."