CEDAR FALLS - After hitting the game-winning three-point shot to dispatch Kansas from the NCAA tournament, UNI guard Ali Farokhmanesh is college basketball's newest darling. And now comes his newest honor -- an appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Here's the press release from SI on their cover:
Northern Iowa hero Ali Farokhmanesh graces the cover of this week's March 29, 2010, cover of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands tomorrow, with the billing Divine Madness: Bracket Busters, Buzzer Beaters and the Perfect Tournament. SI senior writer Tim Layden (http://twitter.com/SITimLayden) introduces us to the Panthers' three-point gunner while recapping the most memorable first two rounds of the tournament in recent memory (page 28): "Farokhmanesh leads the Panthers in minutes (30.3 per game) and three-point field goal attempts (201), an unlikely role for an undersized shooting guard who was not recruited out of West High in Iowa City and attended two junior colleges.... Farokhmanesh has been launching 600 to 700 shots a day since junior high. Last summer Northern Iowa assistant coach P.J. Hogan would open the gym at 6 a.m. so that Farokhmanesh could shoot before class. Asked what player Farokhmanesh reminds him of, Hogan says, 'He reminds me of a towel boy.' "
Says his mother, Cindy Fredrick: "Nobody wanted him. He was a 5' 11" white boy. All my life I've said it's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. And he is a fighter and he's a hard worker. From the time he was just a baby, he'd drag us to the gym. Every single day: 'Let's shoot baskets, let's shoot baskets.' "
With two huge performances in wins over Richmond and Villanova, St. Mary's center Omar Samhan proved that Farokhmanesh would not be the only underrecruited star to have his shining moment: "It is Samhan who leads the Gaels, both by force of his circa-1965 post moves (shoulder fakes, drop steps, baby hooksWalt Bellamy would be proud) and his straightforward talk before, during and after games. Late in Saturday's win over Villanova, Samhan was next to Wildcats guard Corey Stokes on the foul lane and recalls saying, 'You impressed me, man. Did I impress you?' When Stokes didn't respond, Samhan said, 'I'll take your silence as a yes.' "