NCAA One-Hit Wonders: Where are they now?
by Chris Mahr, Special for USA TODAY Sports
The 75th anniversary of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament provides more reason than usual to think about the shooting stars the Big Dance has produced over the years. Chris Mahr of our friends at Lost Lettermenupdates the current whereabouts of 30 one-hit wonders who helped make March Madness what it is today.
1. Kevin Pittsnogle, West Virginia
“You’ve been Pittsnogled!” became a widely used rallying cry in college basketball in the mid-2000s. That’s when a heavily tattooed, homegrown, 6-foot-11 forward for the Mountaineers with a deft touch outside and inside — and an unmistakable last name — helped lead a seemingly undermanned WVU team to the 2005 Elite Eight and 2006 Sweet Sixteen.
Pittsnogle last played professionally in 2012 with the Eastern Basketball Alliance’s Winchester Storm. Now 28, he currently works as a sales consultant for Miller’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in his hometown of Martinsburg, WV. He lives there with his wife, Heather, and their two children.
2. Ali Farokhmanesh, Northern Iowa
Despite his worldly-sounding name, Farokhmanesh — whose father is Iranian — was a homegrown (Iowa City, IA) product for the Panthers. Never one to turn down a shot he didn’t like, it was Farokhmanesh who helped Northern Iowa beat UNLV in the first round and stun top-seeded Kansas, 69–67, in the second round in 2010. His gutsy (some would say insane) 3-pointer with under 40 seconds remaining gave UNI a 66-62 lead over KU and is now a part of tournament lore.
The Sports Illustrated cover boy for March 29, 2010, Farokhmanesh has played professionally the past three years in both Switzerland and Austria. Currently in the latter country with WBC Raiffeisen Wels, he is averaging 13.7 PPG on 52.6% shooting (including 40.5% from three).
3. Keith Smart, Indiana
(USA TODAY Sports)
The 1987 Final Four was a special one for Smart for many reasons. There was his game-winning shot in the waning moments of the championship game, which earned him MOP honors. He became a March Madness legend in New Orleans’ Superdome, not far from his hometown of Baton Rouge. And he did so one year after he was plying his trade … [For more on Big Dance One-Hit Wonders: Where are they now?, click here.]