The ritual stems as much from Jeff Pendergraph’s inkling for improvisation as it does rehearsed choreography. Most nights, he admits, he hasn’t a clue what he’s about to do.

You’ve seen it (if you haven’t, check out the video above) — the Pacers circling around Pendergraph, the third-year reserve forward, while he bounces and dances and screams in the final moments before tipoff. The idea? His energy becomes their energy.

“As soon as everyone gets around me, I just snap,” said Pendergraph.

So, what exactly is it that he shouts?

“I can’t even tell you. I don’t even know myself.”

There are two components to the latest version of the Pacers’ pregame routine. After each starter is introduced, they’re quickly greeted by Pendergraph on the court. There, they exchange a series of customized handshakes, chest bumps and choreographed leaping kicks.

Then there’s the group portion, when all eyes turn to Pendergraph. It’s then he puts on a show.

“We’re getting ready to go out and battle,” forward Paul George said. “And it’s a fun way to ease the tension.”

Or, as George Hill said, “It’s just boys being boys.”