Toronto, ON- It’s not often that Canadian university basketball draws the eye of the NBA or NCAA, however, now former Ryerson Ram Tanor Ngom has done just that.
The Senegalese centre has transferred to the Florida State University Seminoles, continuing his rise through the basketball world.
Ngom left his home at 15 to pursue his career, first stopping in Spain and the USA, before joining the Ryerson Rams for the 2017-18 U SPORTS season. It hasn’t been the traditional rise for Ngom, but his performance has opened doors every step of the way.
Being a university basketball player in Canada makes it a lot harder to earn an NBA opportunity, however, Ngom has gotten a number of chances, all leading up to his big-time NCAA transfer. Although a Canadian university player hasn’t been selected in the NBA Draft since the late 1970s, (Two names ago, for those counting: CIAU and CIS) Ngom drew the eye of scouts throughout his time at Ryerson.
In his sophomore year at Ryerson, the centre made headlines when he declared for the 2019 NBA Entry Draft. It was an action seldom taken by U SPORTS players, but at the time, it was a sentiment to the confidence Ngom had in himself. Although he went undrafted, Ngom returned to Ryerson for his third, turned final season.
Through three years at Ryerson, Ngom dominated the OUA, caught the eye of American scouts and he’s now moving on to the next chapter of his career- The NCAA.
“I can’t wait to get to work with Coach Hamilton and the Seminoles,” said Ngom to FSU Athletics. “Florida State is a great program and I’m humbled at the opportunity to become a part of the program.”
Ngom is coming off his best season as a Ram, where he averaged 16.7 points and 11.5 rebounds per game, both career highs helping Ryerson to a 16-6 record. Although the team fell short of their U SPORTS Final 8 hopes, Ngom’s contributions did not go unnoticed.
At 7’2”, the well-travelled Ngom brings aspects to the court that can’t be paralleled. His height, alongside his even longer wingspan, allow him to rush the net, and make baskets that are near impossible to defend.
While Ngom’s offence is to be heralded, his impenetrable defending is mouthwatering. Leonard Hamilton, his new Head Coach spoke of Ngom, saying, “He is quick and long which gives him the ability to block shots while guarding players in the paint and out towards the perimeter. He has a nice shooting touch and can get to the rim on offence. He has really improved his game while at Ryerson.”
Ngom realizes he has the potential to be a great all-round player and has often spoken about his dream to win the NBA’s award for the top defensive player.
One could wax on for days about Ngom’s skill, but there is more to Ngom than dribbling a basketball. He’s a driven individual, and has his heart set on his dreams- you’ve got to have an immense passion to leave home at 15. As basketball took over his life, he went three years without seeing his mother.
That is until Ryerson University and Uninterputted, an athlete empowerment brand, came together to give Ngom an unforgettable January moment.
On his 21st birthday, Tanor’s mother surprised him on the sidelines of a Ryerson home game. Following the surprise, Ngom spoke of how difficult it is to not see his mother, and how much family means to him.
It’s pretty simple- Florida State is getting a great player and a good-natured young man. All the school can hope for now is a season to be played, after nearly making a run to the NCAA championship prior to the 2019-20 tournament’s cancellation.
Although Ngom was not drafted into the NBA directly from a Canadian university, Ryerson has been a critical step in his development as a person and as a player, a step has already led him closer to his NBA ambitions.
Cover Photo: Christian Bender/Ryerson Rams Athletics