(Mid-Major) Legends of the NCAA Tournament: Ali Farokhmanesh

March 21, 2013

Must See Basketball Videos

In honor of every underdog team looking to knock off a top seed in this year’s NCAA tournament, we tracked down players who came from obscurity to pull off a stunning upset—and then, usually, returned to obscurity. Here we speak with Ali Farokmanesh, guard for the 2010 Northern Iowa team that beat No. 1 seeded Kansas. 

You’ll remember Ali Farokhmanesh by one memorable sentence shouted in disbelief:

“YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS WITH THAT SHOT!”

These words came flying out of the mouth of CBS commentator Dan Bonner as Farokhmanesh’s final three-pointer splashed through the net. Leading by one with 38 seconds left, Farokhmanesh found himself alone behind the arc with the ball in his hands. Instead of running down the clock, Farokhmanesh went straight for the kill, lobbing a 21-footer that plunged the final dagger into the Jayhawks' hearts.

The shot sealed Northern Iowa’s biggest tournament win and secured Farokhmanesh’s spot in Panther folklore. Northern Iowa’s hot streak ended the following week against Michigan State.

The 5’10” Farokhmanesh went undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft, and he eventually signed on with a team based in Switzerland. He currently plays in Austria for WBC Raiffeisen Wels, where he’s averaging 14 points per game and—perhaps unsurprisingly—leading his team in three point attempts.

What follows is his recollection from the 2010 tournament, along with what his life has been like since.

“We got screwed on the seed [#9]. But we looked at it as an opportunity."

"It wasn’t like we were completely off the radar. Throughout the better part of the season, we were ranked in the top 25. And we’d been in the tournament the year before [Northern Iowa lost to Purdue in the first round of the 2009 Tournament]. We were just in shock the first time around. The second time around we knew what to expect."

"I’d be lying if I said that when I stepped on the court against Kansas, I didn’t look down to the other side of the court. We respected the names on their jerseys, we’d seen them on ESPN growing up. At a mid-major school you work so hard to reach that point. That’s when I felt like, OK I made it, I belong here now."

"People remember that shot, but go down the list and so many guys made plays in that game. Jake Koch taking that charge.  Adam [Koch, Jake’s brother] made some of the biggest plays of that game. We had a lot of things go right for us."

"I don’t think anyone could have prepared us for the media afterwards. It was one of the wildest experiences of my life."

"The whole run you had people from Iowa who weren’t necessarily even UNI fans that were excited for you. That was my favorite part of it."

"Playing overseas has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Seven years ago I wanted to quit [Editor's note: Despite a stellar high school career, Farokhmanesh was not offered a scholarship at any college and played two years of junior college ball before signing with Northern Iowa.] Now I’m making a living playing basketball, and I’m seeing the world at the same time. It’s beyond my imagination."

"I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here. I don’t know if I’d be here if I hadn’t went to UNI and had success in the NCAA tournament. It’s been one hell of a ride.”

Check out the first entry in our series: (Mid-Major) Legends of the NCAA Tournament: Clinton Ransey.

Topics: BASKETBALL | NEWS
Jordan Zirm
- Jordan Zirm is an Associate Content Director for STACK. After earning his BS in Journalism from the University of Missouri, he spent time writing for...
Jordan Zirm
- Jordan Zirm is an Associate Content Director for STACK. After earning his BS in Journalism from the University of Missouri, he spent time writing for...
Must See
NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone NFL Wide Receiver Randall Cobb Outworks Everyone
Views: 28,592,208
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 37,349,342
Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes Abby Wambach Will Do Whatever It Takes
Views: 4,583,052

Featured Videos

Basketball Shooting Drill: Kevin Love's Turn-and-Shoot Drill Basketball Shooting Drill: Kevin Love's Turn-and-Shoot Drill Views: 1,877
SEALFIT: Pushing the Limits of What Athletes Are Capable Of SEALFIT: Pushing the Limits of What Athletes Are Capable Of
Athletic Gaines: Get Faster With Weighted Sled Pushes Athletic Gaines: Get Faster With Weighted Sled Pushes
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 6,060,319
Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach Allyson Felix Explains How To Choose a Coach
Views: 8,690,923
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,919,916
Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,852
Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose
Views: 3,539,390

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
10 Ways to Earn More Playing Time This Season

10 Ways to Earn More Playing Time This Season

If you are like most players, you immediately associate playing time with scoring points. You automatically think, "if I score more points, then I will...

7 Reasons to See When the Game Stands Tall

7 Reasons to See

5 NFL Players Who Were Never Supposed to Win Starting Jobs

5 NFL Players Who Were Never Supposed to Win Starting Jobs

How to Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions

How to Stick to Your New Year's Resolutions

8 Star Athletes Who Had to Walk On to Their College Teams

8 Star Athletes Who Had to Walk On to Their College Teams

7 Inspirational Athletes and Coaches Who Stand Tall

7 Inspirational Athletes and Coaches Who Stand Tall

How to Learn Pull-Ups (Or Anything Else for That Matter)

How to Learn Pull-Ups (Or Anything Else for That Matter)

Craig Breslows Path From the Ivy League to the Big Leagues

Craig Breslow

4 Excuses Elite Athletes Never Make

4 Excuses Elite Athletes Never Make

Southlake Carroll Personifies Enduring State of Texas Football

Southlake Carroll Personifies Enduring State of Texas Football

How to Motivate Athletes to Train on Their Own

How to Motivate Athletes to Train on Their Own

6 Skinny Pro Athletes Who Dominate Their Sport

6 Skinny Pro Athletes Who Dominate Their Sport

Video Documents Man's Journey to 600-Pound Squat

Video Documents Man's Journey to 600-Pound Squat

5 Turkey Bowl Pre-Game Pep Talks, Cheers and Chants

5 Turkey Bowl Pre-Game Pep Talks, Cheers and Chants

WATCH: How 3 College Football Teams Make Workouts a Blast

WATCH: How 3 College Football Teams Make Workouts a Blast

How to Be a Quiet Leader

How to Be a Quiet Leader

Preparation Nation: Sierra Canyon Basketball

Preparation Nation: Sierra Canyon Basketball

Preparation Nation: Santa Monica Vikings

Preparation Nation: Santa Monica Vikings

Preparation Nation: Carter Cowboys

Preparation Nation: Carter Cowboys

SURVIVING SEALFIT: Finding the Silver Lining

SURVIVING SEALFIT: Finding the Silver Lining

Preparing for AAU Season: What You Need to Know

Preparing for AAU Season: What You Need to Know

Preparation Nation: Crespi Carmelite Celts

Preparation Nation: Crespi Carmelite Celts

The Hustle Stat: Aspects of Your Game that Catch the NBA's Eye

The Hustle Stat: Aspects of Your Game that Catch the NBA's Eye

Losing Fat: How to Stay Focused During the Holidays

Losing Fat: How to Stay Focused During the Holidays

Why You Need to Play Your Own Game

Why You Need to Play Your Own Game

Franco Harriss Immaculate Reception is a #WinFromWithin

Franco Harris

Preparation Nation: Pulaski Academy Bruins

Preparation Nation: Pulaski Academy Bruins

Workout Motivation: Principles for Training Like a Champion

Workout Motivation: Principles for Training Like a Champion

Preparation Nation: Servite Friars

Preparation Nation: Servite Friars

Become Task-Oriented and Good Outcomes Will Follow

Become Task-Oriented and Good Outcomes Will Follow

5 New Looks to Check Out on Opening Day

5 New Looks to Check Out on Opening Day

How Getting Cut Taught Me The Meaning of Hard Work

How Getting Cut Taught Me The Meaning of Hard Work

3 Personality Traits for Creating a Winning Team Culture

3 Personality Traits for Creating a Winning Team Culture

Travis Kelce Could Be the Next Big Thing in the NFL

Travis Kelce Could Be the Next Big Thing in the NFL

Preparation Nation: Bishop Gorman Basketball

Preparation Nation: Bishop Gorman Basketball

The Reebok ZPump Fusion Is Like a Mold for Your Foot

The Reebok ZPump Fusion Is Like a Mold for Your Foot

What's the Most Effective Coaching Style?

What's the Most Effective Coaching Style?

YardBarker