"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."
Ali Farokhmanesh of the Northern Iowa Panthers knocked No. 1 overall seed Kansas out of the NCAA Tournament with a late three-pointer in their second round matchup.
Who is this guy? Here are some facts about Ali Farokhmanesh.
Ali Fredrick Farokhmanesh was born April 16, 1988 in Pullman, Washington. Farokhmanesh hoped to be born in a better place, but he was undersized and not highly regarded in utero and got a poor seed.
Farokhmanesh's father, Mashallah Farokhmanesh, played for the Iranian national volleyball team and had a 42-inch vertical jump. Mashallah was best known by his playing name, "The Flyin' Shiek".
Mashallah and Ali's mother, Cindy Fredrick, coached college volleyball together at Washington State and Iowa after meeting at a volleyball camp.Ali says he still has nightmares about the time he went into his parents' bedroom because his mother was yelling "Bump! Set! Spike!", only to discover they were not playing volleyball.
After an all-state senior season at Iowa City West High School, Farokhmanesh played a year of basketball at both Indian Hills and Kirkwood junior colleges before getting a scholarship offer from Northern Iowa.As you may have learned in recent days, Northern Iowa is not a junior college. Who knew.
In his first year at Northern Iowa last season, Farokhmanesh averaged 9.6 points and then improved to 9.7 points this season. At that pace, Farokhmanesh would have to play 73 more years to average the 17 points he scored in Northern Iowa's upset of Kansas. Or he could just play a season in the Big 12.
Farokhmanesh is a marketing major at Northern Iowa. His senior thesis? Convince anyone to come to Cedar Falls, Iowa. Anyone at all.
Farokhmanesh is listed at 6'0", 190 pounds, but he stands closer to 5'9". The three-inch difference meant Farokhmanesh was not recruited coming out of high school, and it also makes Kansas' lost to Northern Iowa three inches more hilarious.