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. We update the current whereabouts of 30 one-hit wonders who helped make March Madness what it is today.
"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, West Virginia. He lives there with his wife, Heather, and their two children.
A transfer from USC, Kimble provided somes the tournament's most indelible moments in 1990 by shooting the first free throw of each game left-handed in honor of best friend and LMU teammate Hank Gathers, who died of a heart condition during that year’s WCC tournament. Kimble made each of his southpaw free throws as the 11th-seeded Lions enjoyed a storybook run to the Elite Eight.
Kimble was the eighth overall pick in the 1990 NBA Draft, only to have injuries plague his pro career. Now living in North Wales, PA, he runs the "44 for Life" heart disease awareness foundation -- so named as to honor the late Gathers' jersey number -- and has recently tried breaking into coaching. He is an unpaid assistant at Shoreline (Wash.) Community College.
In northwest Indiana (and sometimes elsewhere), Bryce Drew's game-winning, buzzer-beating trey for No. 13 seed Valparaiso against Ole Miss in a 1998 first-round game is simply called "The Shot." It’s so well-known to the masses that it has its own Wikipedia page. And people often forget that Drew also spearheaded an upset of Florida State in the next round that sent the Crusaders to their only Sweet Sixteen in school history.
Fifteen years later, Drew and his alma mater are dancing again. After taking the reins at Valpo following his father Homer’s retirement in 2011, Bryce -- an assistant coach under his dad from 2005–2011 -- has guided the Crusaders to their first Big Dance berth since 2004.
Despite his worldly-sounding name, Farokhmanesh -- whose father is Iranian -- was a homegrown (Iowa City, Iowa) 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 points on 52.6 percent shooting (including 40.5 percent from three).
When he decided to play college ball at Princeton in the mid-1990s, Lewullis did so with his education as the foremost priority. Never in a million years did he imagine that he’d be largely responsible for one of the biggest first-round upsets ever.
Yet there he was as a true freshman in 1996, banking in a layup off a backdoor cut -- the staple of his school’s eponymous offense -- to shock defending champion and No. 4 seed UCLA, 43–41. Even as he's become an accomplished orthopedic surgeon in the Philadelphia area, that basket remains Lewullis' calling card.
This surefire entry on college basketball's All-Name Hall of Fame was more than just a memorable name. He was a star for the Cowboys, leading the No. 12 seed to the 1987 Sweet Sixteen -- including a second-round triumph over Reggie Miller and UCLA in which Dembo scored 41 points in an upset win -- while averaging a tournament-leading 27.8 PPG.
Dembo's appearance on the 1987–1988 college basketball preview issue of Sports Illustrated was the first ever by a Wyoming athlete and preceded a seven-year professional career (1988–1995). Dembo is now back in his native San Antonio with hopes of finishing his college degree, obtaining a Master's or Ph.D. in civil engineering and becoming a university professor.
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 in obscurity at Garden City (Kansas) Community College.
After retiring as a player in 1997, Smart has devoted his life to coaching. He's now in his first full season with the Sacramento Kings after taking over on an interim basis last January.
The gregarious senior center was the face of Cinderella Saint Mary’s run to the 2010 Sweet Sixteen. The "Sandman" dominated both Richmond (first round) and Villanova (second) to the tune of 61 combined points on 75 percent shooting (24-of-32) from the field. "Dominant" was also an apt descriptor for Samhan's personality as he hammed it up for TV cameras and reporters alike.
Alas, Samhan's performance that weekend three years ago wasn't enough to get him drafted by an NBA team. He's since tried to find a home overseas and he is now playing in Germany for Ratiopharm Ulm after previous stints in Lithuania and the Philippines.
It was 30 years ago that Charles' buzzer-beating slam dunk finished N.C. State's upset for the ages in the 1983 national title game against heavily favored Houston.
Sadly, Charles -- who played in six different countries during a 16-year professional career (1985–2001) -- was killed in a June 2011 bus accident in Raleigh, N.C., while working for the Elite Coach charter bus company. Up until his death, Charles was still enjoying his 15 minutes of fame.
Any conversation concerning the best names in sports is incomplete without the former Friars guard who pluckily led No. 10 seed Providence to the 1997 Elite Eight. In the national quarterfinals, the New York City product went toe-to-toe with Arizona's Mike Bibby to the tune of 23 points and five assists in a 96-92 loss to the eventual national champs.
Somewhat foolishly, Shammgod declared for the NBA draft after that '97 season. Even though he was selected by the Wizards in the second round, his NBA career amounted to just 20 games before embarking on a long, overseas odyssey. Shammgod is now back at his alma mater, finishing his degree and working as PC's undergraduate student assistant coach.
While Villanova's "Expansion Crew" of Ed Pinckney, Dwayne McClain and Gary McLain got most of the pub during the Wildcats' unlikely run to the 1985 NCAA title, Jensen's contributions aren't to be taken lightly. The Trumbull, Conn., native -- a second team All-Big East performer that season -- scored 14 huge points (5-5 FGs, 4-5 FTs) in the title game upset of Georgetown.
A two-time, first team Academic All-American (1986 and 1987) with the Wildcats, Jensen now makes his home within shouting distance of his alma mater while working as the executive vice present at Sparks, a Philadelphia marketing firm.
The player nicknamed "The Show" put on just that for 14th-seeded Weber State against North Carolina in 1999. Facing a Final Four team from the year before, Arceneaux -- a transfer from Midland (Texas) Junior College -- went off for 36 points in a 76–74 shocker that still gives Tar Heels fans nightmares. As analyst Kevin Harlan put it at the time, "The bar for heroism has just been raised!"
Fast approaching his 36th birthday on April 1st, Arceneaux is incredibly still playing in Mexico for Lechugueros de León after a career that has spanned the globe.
For the complete slideshow of the NCAA Tournament One-Hit Wonders, including Casey Calvary, Mouse McFadden and many more, go to Lost Lettermen.
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