It's only been 12 months since Ali Farokhmanesh led Northern Iowa into the Sweet 16 with clutch 3-point shooting and an upset over No. 2 seed Kansas. But Farokhmanesh says it feels like an eternity ago.
"Last March I was getting the finest tail in all of Northern Iowa," says Farokhmanesh. "From farmer's daughters to farmer's sisters to farmer's wives. There was even a farmer's mother. Thankfully, he was a younger farmer."
But today, while the 2011 Sweet 16 is set to open, Farokhmanesh finds himself far removed from being the king of the upper-third of the state of Iowa. Undrafted by the NBA, the 6-foot is scraping by playing for SAM Massagno Basket of the Swiss league.
"Honestly, I chose to play for the Swiss league because I hoped Swiss milk maids would be as into me as Iowa milk maids," says Farokhmanesh. "But the girls here never heard of me. They never heard of the NCAA Tournament or Northern Iowa. To them I'm just the little guy with the weird name who sits on the bench."
If his playing fortunes don't soon turn around, Farokhmanesh says he will return to Northern Iowa to live off of his name.
"I'm thinking of opening a restaurant called Ali Farokhmanesh's Hero of Northern Iowa Forever Basketball Restaurant with a big picture of my face on the sign," he said. "That will remind people of the 2010 Sweet 16 run again and get the flow of farmer-related women coming my way just like last year. 2010 might be a long time ago to most people, but in Iowa it seems very recent. In fact, in Iowa the year 1950 seems very recent."