On more than a few occasions the past three seasons, the end of Thunder practice has been disrupted by laughter.
We're talking rip-roaring eruptions, where younger players collapse to the floor and finish on their backs, unable to contain their hilarity.
The primary culprits are guards Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Daequan Cook and Eric Maynor, who routinely engage in shooting contests whenever time permits.
No one is immune to these laughter meltdowns among those age 25 and younger, including Serge Ibaka and three-time scoring champ Kevin Durant, who has fallen to the floor a few times himself.
Westbrook routinely lets out a primal yell whenever he wins (or loses) a free-throw contest against a teammate, which has spurred similar celebrations from even some of the older players at the team's new practice facility.
Such merriment usually stems from a player's key miss under pressure and often is accompanied with some good old-fashioned verbal warfare.
Yup, this is “Thunder U.”
It's hard to fathom this group represents one half of this year's NBA Finals.
More than once, cackling in the background has interrupted post-practice interview sessions with Thunder coach Scott Brooks, who will pause, shake his head and whisper with a smile, “Thunder U.”
As the Thunder repeatedly has shown during this year's playoffs, the team's remarkable achievements have defied its youth.
OKC's starting lineup has an average age of 24.6, but the team is experienced far beyond its years.
Durant and Westbrook have started all 38 postseason games they've played. Ibaka has started 32 of his 38 playoff games. Thabo Sefolosha has started 38 of his 47 playoff games. Meanwhile, center Kendrick Perkins has started 94 of 100 career postseason games, is about to play in his third NBA Finals and won the 2008 world championship with Boston.
That's 261 playoff appearances for a group with an average age of less than 25 for a franchise that's 4 years old.
So far this postseason, OKC has disposed of the defending world champion Dallas Mavericks, the 16-time world champion Los Angeles Lakers, the four-time world champion San Antonio Spurs and potentially could get a crack at the 17-time world champion Boston Celtics.
For what already has been achieved – and what potentially awaits – is it safe to dump all “Thunder U” references?
Is school no longer in session?
“No, it's still here. It's still open,” Brooks said with a smile on Friday. “We're in grad school right now – living off-campus, no kids.”
Not to mention roughly $62.6 million in “scholarship” money.
There will come a day when the Thunder roster will lose its youthful charm, when the players will become grizzled veterans perfectly capable of controlling moments of laughter.
That time is not now, Brooks insists. The team remains a mixture of youthful exuberance that is wise beyond its years.
“That's always been our philosophy here at Thunder U,” Brooks said, sounding like the Dean of Admissions. “Bring the enthusiasm, but have maturity with it.”