Photo Credit: Washington Post
the dawn of time the expansion of the field, the NCAA tournament has seen it’s fair share of unknown players become darlings of the tournament. Sure everyone is expecting Zion Williamson to go for 30 a night and not miss a field goal attempt, but the fun starts with the double-digit teams’ senior point guard, or freshman phenom that led the Patriot league in scoring. Those guys, the ones who hit daggers to knock off top seeds, those are the true stars of the tournament.
So let’s look back on the last 20 years and find some of the biggest-little-guy names that will forever be linked with March Madness.
Ali Farokhmanesh – University of Northern Iowa (2010 Tournament)
I will always remember Ali here because he crushed my hopes and dreams of finally beating my brother in the family bracket pool with this clutch three to upset #1 Kansas in the second round of the 2010 Tournament.
Plus, the dude has one of the best names to say, just rolls off the tongue.
That UNI over Kansas upset is one of those childhood memories I’ll never lose.
Bryce Drew – Valparaiso (1998 Tournament)
So while I don’t have a live memory of this shot as I was hardly 6 months old when it occurred, Bryce Drew’s game winning buzzer beater to upend Ole Miss in ’98 is as classic as they come.
I mean… that’s just exactly how ya draw it up. The set up is, debatably, even prettier than the actual shot. This is the inbound play every youth basketball coach draws up, and 99 times out of 100 you don’t even get the shot off.
Poetry in motion.
Donte Ingram – Loyola Chicago (2018 Tournament)
You can call it recency bias all you want, but without this shot in the first round last year, we don’t have one of the most improbable Final Four runs in recent memory from Loyola Chicago. Ingram had the STONES to pull this one, and it was absolutely electric.
Also to keep in mind, this shot created a pathway for Sister Jean, who is a star in her own right.
RJ Hunter – Georgia State (2015 Tournament)
Just one of my favorite upsets in the last 10 years because of all the layers. Hunter hit such an improbable shot to take the lead. I love the deep three that comes when the team is down three, get that tie game stuff out of here. Grown. Man. Jumper.
Not to mention their head coach, RJ’s FATHER, does a swan dive completely out of his chair after it goes in.
There are an abundance of clutch shots to choose from, but these are some of the most memorable for me in my lifetime.
Can’t wait to see who has a miracle three up their sleeve this year.