This post has three parts: some thoughts from people associated with Tanguy, a brief discussion looking a little deeper at the name and date of birth debacle, and a brief rant directed at FIBA.
To start of with I thought that looking deeper at Ngombo's game was still needed, as the game footage of Ngombo is lacking. I felt it would be beneficial to ask people who have played with or coached Tanguy about his strengths, weaknesses, and their general thoughts on him being drafted. I received three good responses.
William Belton – Belton played a year at Wofford and then transferred to Morehouse College where he was a three year starter and All-Conference performer. He has since played in a number of semi-pro leagues in the US and a season in Qatar. He played with Ngombo in 2009 for Al-Rayyan.
“When I met Tanguy and got on the court with him, the first thing you notice is he is a very reserved guy, kind of quiet even, but what surprises you is that he really has a motor and is very strong. He has good size and length for the shooting guard position and is an excellent rebounder and spot up shooter. His reputation was that of a great defender and he routinely guarded the other teams' best player. I think his offensive game could use some more polish in terms of creating space and advanced dribble moves, but he will be an excellent finisher in any system as well as be able to guard his position in the NBA, should he come over. I was very excited to see him get drafted and his subsequent draft video being shown all over the world. He really is a humble star as well, and you wish the best to any guy who carries himself as Tanguy does.”
A.J. Guyton - Former Indiana Hoosier star and 2nd Round Draft pick should be a recognizable name to many. He played three seasons in the NBA before starting a productive career overseas. He played in 2010 with Ngombo on the Al-Rayyan squad. He is now an Assistant Coach at Illinois Central College in Peoria.
“I thought that was Tanguy last night but I didn’t remember his real name. He has a great body, very athletic but is raw. He was a streaky shooter, but his best attributes were running the floor and blocking shots. He lacked a competitive drive, which was why he didn’t really get better. He was lazy, never worked on his game. He liked to be in the gym but he would not work on his game. Maybe it was because of his youth. He was a below average ball handler. He lacks assertiveness. He could have dominated that league if he wanted to, but the killer instinct was not in him. I knew he would get an opportunity to play in the NBA because of his age, athleticism and body. Good kid who should have never been in Qatar in the first place or should have left a long time ago. I would actually like to get a player or 2 to come play in Qatar, it has the potential to be a great league, but a couple rules need to be changed. The facilities were excellent but the knowledge of the game needs improvement.”
Brian Rowsom – Rowsom was a 2nd Round pick in the 1987 draft. He played three seasons with the Pacers and the Hornets. He went on to play four seasons in Israel in the early 90’s. He has since worked as an agent, a camp organizer, and most recently as a coach in both Japan and the Middle East. He coached Ngombo for Al Rayyan this season.
“I am very proud of Tanguy and what he has accomplished by getting drafted into the NBA.I was fortunate enough to experience the same thing in 1987 so I know what he is going through. I think his game is perfect for the NBA because a large part of the game there is based on athleticism. He is a wonderful athlete who can run and jump with anyone so that's a good start. Then he is a hard worker who wants to get better. His strengths again are his athleticism and willingness to learn and work hard to get better. He still lacks some of the techniques and little things that he will learn at the next level but that will come with more experience in the US playing and working with Coaches from the NBA. I think with time, he will become a better shooter from 3 pt range and also a better ball handler which will both take his game to a higher level. The main thing about playing in the NBA is having confidence. We both mentioned a lot of his physical abilities but mentally if he stays confident, he will always have a better chance of succeeding there! I am proud of him like a father and all of my friends in the US have been asking about him. It's a positive step for Qatar Basketball and all of the people involved with basketball in this country and region!”
So what conclusions can we draw from the three assessments above? I think the most obvious one is that the guy goes by ‘Tanguy’ and not ‘Targuy.’ Interesting when you consider that when you google ‘Targuy’ there are ten times more results than ‘Tanguy.’ All three of these gentlemen seem to recognize the same strength in his game: his athleticism. Besides that they are all over the map, even though they are all generally complimentary of his potential. They agree a little more on his weaknesses as each of them point out his poor ball-handling skills. I think Guyton’s analysis of Ngombo’s work ethic is potentially very scary for those paying his salary in the future.
Jonathan Givony sent links out yesterday showing Ngombo’s date of birth as 1984 from both a FIBA Africa tournament and the 2012 London Olympics’ website. I went through all of FIBA Asia tournaments and events websites and confirmed that they have the same biographical information (2010 Asia Champion’s, 2010 Stankovic, 2010 Asia Games, 2011 Asia Champion’s) since he has been playing for Qatar showing that he was born in 1989. First, if this is trickery, the perpetrator did a terrible job as everyone knows that Tanguy and Targuy are the same person. This was apparent before the draft, and actually from one of Givony’s first tweets about him, "Tanguy Ngombo or Targuy Ngombo from Qatar via the Congo indeed may get drafted by Minnesota, multiple NBA people say. 6-7 very athletic 3/4." If his date of birth has in fact been changed then it is obvious that it is connected with his move to Qatar. As many people have discussed, it would have been much more difficult for him to naturalize if he moved to Qatar over the age of 16.
In the end I think that the basketball community needs to move their focus and scorn away from Ngombo and over to the organizations that allowed this “mix up” to occur in the first place. As I mentioned in the first post, the Qatar team is universally disliked around Asia as other countries feel that the team has too many foreign-born players without Qatari heritage. The Qatar Basketball Federation can be as excited as they want about Ngombo’s selection, but someone needs to step up and start answering some questions. Ultimately though FIBA needs to figure out how this happened. I think more than ever before this situation has shown the disparity, lack of communication, and lack of oversight that FIBA has over the national teams. The evidence showing Ngombo to be five years older than his stated date of birth was on a FIBA website! The fact that information on the FIBA main page, the FIBA Africa page, and the FIBA Asia page do not correspond with each other shows the disorganization of the organization. FIBA should take a front and center position to figure out what exactly is going on here, and show leadership in enforcing their own rules.
Then again, FIFA let Qatar buy the World Cup, so why should FIBA not allow them to buy a good basketball team?