This is Targuy Ngombo. Remember the name. Also try and remember how to spell it.
Pick 57: Few are more dominant at their craft than Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. Only Dr James Andrews and the Hollywood movie trailer announcer guy have singularly dominated their chosen profession better than he. If you want your shoulder operated on, you go to James Andrews. If you want your action thriller to have a baritone overdub, throw $20,000 at Red Pepper. And if you want to know anything about an obscure Croatian 19 year old who once performed a private workout in front of two anonymous scouts and a dead vole in a decrepit ventilation-less gymnasium in the middle of mountainous northern Poland during a stormy December morning back in 2006, you ask Jonathan. He'll know.
This dominance was demonstrated by his sourcing out and exposure of the next player to be drafted, Targuy Ngombo. No one outside of his native Qatar had heard of Ngombo until last week, when the story suddenly emerged that the Minnesota Timberwolves were styling all over him. It was Givony who made that story happen; sure enough, he was right.
The #57 pick is still technically owned by Dallas. However, it was already been wormed into the Miller/Felton swap, and is now on its way to Portland. It is now to be moved again, going to the Timberwolves.
The Ngombo pick is obscure - the last player to be drafted out of the Qatari league was Captain Nobody, who also happens to be the only Qatarian basketball player you've ever heard of. [Although ex-Nets big man Jabari Smith once tried out for the Qatar national team. True story.] He is not as obscure as Bumchuck, though - the week of prior warning gave ESPN time to locate and queue up some tape. Fraschilla, who has seen the tape before and read up a bit, talks us through it. Nobody seems to know whether his name is Tanguy or Targuy, yet for all his obscurity, Ngombo was planned for. A reach, a project, a nobody, but at least he's been a professional basketball player for several years.
For a while longer than that, actually.
At this moment, we'll briefly depart from the loosely canonical nature of the post thus far.
Immediately following the completion of the draft, the story broke that Ngombo was older than he said he was. Ngombo's official NBA.com draft profile lists his date of birth as the 10th of July, 1989, the predominant date syndicated the world over. It was even the date listed on his player profile at the Court Side Agency webpage, a profile that no longer exists. (Attempts to access it return the message "Tanguy Alban Harris Ngombo is not represented by Court Side Agency." All right. But he certainly used to be.) What appears in hindsight to have been a fairly open secret in Qatar was not acknowledged by the NBA nor its teams, not until it was too late. Whatever his actual date of birth was, the 1989 one was used.
If he was older than 22, Ngombo was not eligible for the draft. His eligibility had been and gone - he was draft eligible several years ago, when he was playing in Qatar. Were he born in 1984, like the rumours said, Ngombo would have been really, really ineligible for the 2011 NBA draft. So it was very important to get accurate information on when he was born. And apparently they didn't.
There was one website that only ever listed Ngombo's age as 26. And it's a website with rather a large reputation. It is FIBA's own website. Somehow, we didn't find this in time.
It appears, then, that Minnesota's much coveted fringe prospect is no project at all. He is a 26 year old Qatarian league undersized wing player, who made his name only because he was represented by a powerhouse agency, a powerhouse agency that no longer represents him. The whole situation is a grave embarrassment to a team that can't seem to stop inviting it upon themselves - between the Rubio saga, the #2 pick debacle and the woeful mismanagement of the Kurt Rambis situation, this month has been worse for drama than most Timberwolves months. And yet they've seen fit to cap it off by drafting an ineligible player.
As far as I am aware, this, nor anything like it, has never happened before. There is therefore no precedent as to what could or should happen next. I don't doubt that Minnesota intended to act in good faith, and were not encouraging Ngombo to lie about his age in direct contravention of the rules, but it does seem as though they acted without due care and attention, and without properly vetting draft candidates as you would expect them to. Further complicating matters is the fact that they acquired Ngombo in a trade - technically, Dallas picked him, and thus are embroiled in any possible saga as well.
The question, then is what to do next. Do you punish a team for ignorance, and for the sloppy handling of an already extremely insignificant matter?
Minnesota paid cash to obtain these completely useless rights, wasted a draft pick, and have humiliated throughout the media. That is punishment enough.
Laugh it up and let it go.
(Although if the league does see fit to punish them, I vote we do the whole entire draft again.)