Growing up, Kaleb Joseph would often play pickup basketball games with his friends. As he competed against his schoolmates, Joseph pretended he was Gerry McNamara, Jonny Flynn or Eric Devendorf making plays in front of a raucous Carrier Dome Crowd.
Fast forward several years, and it was no longer Joseph dreaming of playing for Syracuse, but rather the Hall of Fame coach (Jim Boeheim) he had long fantasized of playing for pursuing him as a major college basketball prospect.
Seemingly, Joseph to Syracuse was a slam dunk. Yet he says the clincher was a moment he had while visiting the campus over the weekend.
"It was definitely after watching the team practice, that was when I knew this was the place I wanted to be," Joseph admitted. "Watching the way G-Mac interacted with all of the players.
"Seeing how Coach Hopkins is passionate about the game. That's something that really stood out to me."
Prior to that moment as he watched his future teammates, Mike Hopkins took Joseph on a tour of the campus. He was shown all of Syracuse's elite facilities, and given a taste for what it would be like to play for his dream school.
"The coaches showed me around campus," Joseph recalled. "He showed me the living arrangements and how that would be. Then he showed me the Dome and we checked that out. We went to the Melo Center. We went all around campus and just got a feel for what life on campus would be like.
"The Melo Center is really nice. I like having the twenty four hour access. You can go in there anytime you want. It's a big time facility. I love it."
As Joseph saw the campus and watched the team practice, a feeling of nostalgia came over him. Realizing what he had wished for as a hopeful young basketball player was finally coming to fruition.
"Just thinking back on things, it's something I always wanted to do, playing at Syracuse," Joseph offered. "Growing up, watching G-Mac play, I've always wanted to be a part of something like that.
"I think having this opportunity with what's in place here, not many people have this opportunity. I just wanted to take advantage of it."
So the decision has been made, in Joseph's mind at least. Now it was time to communicate that to the Syracuse coaches. First up was his tour guide, Coach Hopkins.
"First I was downstairs in the gym with Coach Hop," Joseph detailed. "I told him, and he's absolutely crazy. He started going nuts, running all over the place and clapping. Then we went to Coach Boeheim's office and told him. He gave me a big hug and told me, ‘welcome to the family.' Then we went and told G-Mac and he was going nuts too.
"The team was in practice and they were just yelling when they found out. They kind of assumed because they heard all the noise and stuff. They all came over and just welcomed me."
Once he committed to the coaches, he announced his intentions on Twitter. After the announcement, Joseph was bombarded by excited Syracuse fans welcoming him to his new home.
"I think it was just confirmation that I made the right decision," Joseph declared. "The fans up there show a lot of love. Just walking around campus, most of the people knew who I was.
"They all made me feel really welcome and that was big in my commitment. I just love it. Great basketball tradition. It's a special place and it's a great feeling."
Joseph says his recruitment is completely finished. He is not going to take other visits or listen to other schools. His decision is set in stone. With the process coming to a conclusion, he is now focused on realizing his goals for his time at Syracuse.
"I don't know how long I'm going to be there," Joseph said. "I'm definitely in no rush. The goal is to get better every single year and every single day. I think this is the place I can do that. Obviously the number one priority is to win a national championship.
"I think with the team we have and with me and Chris coming in, we definitely have the chance to do that. I want to be one of the great guards they've had at Syracuse. Growing up and watching all of their great players, I've always envisioned myself being mentioned in their names. That's what I want to be."
And why not think big? After all, Joseph's life seems to be playing out exactly as he dreamed.