In less than six weeks following Maryland basketball's loss to Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen, sophomore guards Jared Nickens and Jaylen Brantley spread a dance movement around the country, got famous and went on the Ellen Show. They're doing the offseason right.
Dancing isn't all that new to Nickens and Brantley. They started posting videos of themselves dancing to Instagram and Twitter long before the Running Man Challenge started.
"[Jaylen's] always joking, dancing, playing around,"Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Carter-Williams, a high school teammate of Brantley, told reporter Joshua Vinson.
But the Running Man Challenge took off immediately in a way none of their other videos did.
After spreading to the men's basketball teams at Virginia Tech, Marquette and Louisville, the Running Man Challenge went to the Connecticut women's team, the Miami Heat's Justise Winslow, the Gronkowski family and pretty much everywhere. So Ellen DeGeneres decided to fly Nickens and Brantley out to Los Angeles to appear on her show with the kids who originally created the dance.
"I was nervous. My hands started shaking a bit," Nickens, who regularly plays basketball games in front of 17,950 fans at Xfinity Center, said of his appearance on Ellen. But the talk was quick and then the two were able to let loose and dance, where nerves don't exist because the Running Man thrives on its simplicity.
"You really can't mess up on the dance, you can just add your own twist to it," said Nickens, who's done the dance literally on the toilet.
The boys took full advantage of their west coast trip, as Nickens said he'd been to L.A. for basketball before but hadn't been able to see much.
"We went to Beverly Hills, we walked on the street with all the stars. We went sightseeing," said Brantley.
They were toured around by former teammates Robert Carter Jr., who is in California training for the NBA Draft, and Richaud Pack, who played his senior season at Maryland in 2014-15 after transferring from North Carolina A&T.
Nickens and Brantley realized where their level of fame stood when they went out to eat and ran into an unexpected fan. A fan who also happened to be The Game, a famous rapper.
"[The Game] was at a restaurant. I was with Rob and Richaud," said Nickens. "He was familiar with the Running Man Challenge. I'd seen him post it on his Instagram before. One of the people that worked there came over and said The Game wanted to meet me so we spoke a little bit."
Nickens said before the dance went viral he had around 11.8 thousand followers on Instagram. He now has over 55 thousand. He's gained over a thousand followers on Twitter as well and has a hard time keeping up on Snapchat.
"My snap is on one of my Instagram posts and people have just been adding me," said Nickens. "I accept everybody and I try to do it in a timely fashion but there's a lot of people I've gotta scroll through."
For now Nickens and Brantley will let the Running Man Challenge live out as long as it can, partly in hope that they can finally get New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in on the fun.
"We need Odell to do it badly," said Brantley. "We need to find the right connection."
There's a chance the dance also sees a rebirth next basketball season.
"Maybe in the pregame warmup, maybe in Maryland Madness," said Nickens. "We got some time to figure it out, you never know what can happen from now until then."
What we do know is that there is a new dance in store, but the duo is holding out.
"It's not being revealed for another month and a half," said Brantley. "We're trying to let this Running Man run out as long as it can."
At night, we'll just have to imagine what that dance could be.