Several years ago Mitch McGary grabbed a rebound in a summer AAU tournament game. His coach started barking the same thing over and over again.
"Outlet the ball. Pass it out. Get an outlet."
McGary started dribbling up the floor. Teammates were open on both wings. The 6-foot-10 Chesterton kid kept dribbling. He stopped and popped a 3-pointer. Nothing but net.
He turned and said to his coach, "No one was open."
That's when the laughter began. It didn't stop for the four years that McGary played for the SYF program.
"Mitch was always the comedian in the group," SYF founder James Dye said. "He'd have everyone laughing on and off the court. Some nights when we were away at tournament he would keep us up until midnight or 1 (a.m.) keeping us laughing with his jokes.
"Or we would stay up until midnight or 1 (a.m.) laughing about something he said earlier in the day."
McGary and Lake Central's Glenn Robinson III played for SYF beginning their freshman year in high school. Crown Point's Spike Albrecht joined SYF his senior year.
Dye's SYF basketball program has sent 72 players, mostly local, to Division I college programs. Before tonight NCAA's championship game between Michigan and Louisville, Dye had never had a player make a Final Four before.
Now, he has three.
"All three kids worked very hard on developing their basketball skills," Dye said. "We knew we had great, talented young men the first day we saw them. But the credit to all three of these boys is they took care of business in the classroom and that's why they are where they are at now.
"Northwest Indiana has always had great talent here. Where we have to do a better job is getting these kids to work just as hard at academics."
Dye said that McGary's agility and ball-handling skills were unique from the start. He said Robinson's approach was always serious, always 24/7 effort.
"Basketball was like a job to Glenn," Dye said. "You rarely get a smile from Glenn on the basketball court. He would smile right before he was ready to posterize someone. He did it before, but never after a big dunk."
Albrecht played just four months with SYF due to a foot injury. Albrecht thought it was a sprain. He played two games before finding out it was broken.
"That's Spike's toughness," Dye said. "He's a tough-nosed kid. A very tough little guy. He has that little guy syndrome where he was to prove something to someone. But you can still wake him up at 3 a.m. and he's going to drill nine out of 10 3s.
"That's who he is."
Dye plans to return to the area for tonight's championship game. He remembers all three contributing to a championship win in Dallas when they were younger. All three played well in that game.
Just like Dye believes they will tonight.
"I'm just going to sit back and watch my guys," Dye said. "With a big smile on my face. I hope all of Northwest Indiana will have the same smile as I do."