Philo spoke with Ngombo. He talked to his coaches, the better to get a sense of the player's personality and work ethic. When Philo returned to Minnesota, he brought Ngombo's game tape, and recommended that the team consider picking him in the 2011 draft.
Almost immediately, there was speculation around the league about Ngombo. Who was this guy? Had the Timberwolves found a steal in the middle of the desert? And, how, exactly, did you spell his name— Tanguy or Targuy? Typically, the NBA investigates potential draftees to make sure that they're eligible; in Ngombo's case, he was so far off the consensus pre-draft board that the league hadn't run a background check. Only Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress had an inkling the pick was coming.
… the world's getting smaller. With technology, with connectivity, you can tap into markets like Qatar, into Africa, and it's only continue into Asia and into India. This is the future, the future's here now, and it involves these guys, and I'm not gonna say their names, either …
Kahn planned to place Ngombo into a stronger league, like the Spanish ACB or the Italian LBA. That never happened. The day after the draft, Givony and European scouting expert Simon Jatsch unearthed an online Qatari national team roster from 2005 that listed a Tanguy Ngombo from Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo, as having a birth date of 1984.(Even today, you can still see a full accounting of Ngombo's stats from 2005 tournaments on the FIBA basketball site, which also lists him still has being born in 1984).The new information sent the Timberwolves scrambling: if Ngombo was really almost 27, he would have been ineligible for the 2011 draft. (Per league rules, international players are automatically eligible for the draft in the year that they turn 22, and players cannot be eligible for selection in more than one draft). Team owner Glen Taylor and Kahn met with Philo and asked him about the reports. Philo called Ngombo to find out more."I told him about the reports out there," Philo says. "He said he didn't know what I was talking about, he's born in 1989. I asked him if he was absolutely positive, that there were reports that you played in a tournament years ago under a 1984 birthday. Tanguy explained that if this is true he had no knowledge of it, which led to me asking him what he meant by 'to his knowledge.' That led to him saying something really interesting, in my mind."
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.
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 21, 2011