TALLAHASSEE, Fla (seminoles.com) — After spending three years in Canada on Ryerson University’s basketball team, Tanor Ngom is ready to make his mark in his second season as a member of the Florida State basketball team.
Ngom is as thankful as any player on the Seminoles’ roster for his teammates and coaches during this season of giving. As Florida State takes the court on the night before Thanksgiving against Boston University at the Donald L. Tucker Center at 7:00 p.m., Ngom knows that he has so many people to thank for his successes, not just as a basketball player but academically as well.
Ngom was named to the 2021 ACC Academic Honor Roll and will earn his bachelor’s degree in Social Science this spring. While earning his degree from Florida State, he will help the Seminoles compete for ACC and national championships.
“I was looking for a place to better my basketball career,” said Ngom. “I couldn’t say no to a bigger platform to showcase what I could do,” he said about his 2020 transfer to Tallahassee and Florida State.
Competing as a member of the Florida State basketball team has helped the redshirt senior become a better player.
During the 2020-21 season, he worked to adapt to the level of play, talent on the team, and speed of the game at Florida State and in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It was a huge step-up and the way he saw the game changed drastically.
Last season, Ngom averaged less than eight minutes of playing time per game as part of the plan to change his body.
Ngom is tall and long and gaining weight has been difficult throughout his life. He worked on being consistent in the weight room and gained twenty pounds in the last year.
This season Ngom is working to be a defensive anchor for the Seminoles.
Coming from Canada, he felt that he was always the underdog as a basketball player.
“People said I was crazy signing at Florida State and was never going to see the court here,” said Ngom. “That sentiment is insane because of the time and skill I have and work I’ve put in to becoming a better player. This is my season to pay off.”
Ngom is working this season to be the best leader possible. He has goals to win championships and get three rings.
“I am not one of the young guys anymore as a fifth year senior,” said Ngom. “I want to be the best example for the guys and so many others. In a game, I know how to talk to certain players and get the best out of them. I like bringing energy.”
Ngom knows that being part of a team sport helps you learn how to become a team player.
For Ngom, playing basketball is about the friendships and people you meet. He speaks five languages and enjoys teaching each one to his teammates.
Competing in a team sport opens your mind and helps you grow as a person by learning from others.
“The relationships you make are something different,” said Ngom. “Seeing different personalities come together for one common goal by people that would never normally be friends is an amazing feeling.”
In Ngom’s eyes, there are three qualities that are important for a team: honesty, maturity, humility.
“If I’m not doing my job, tell me I’m not doing my job but be mature about the way you tell me I’m not doing my job,” said Ngom.
Going from being the guy to one of the guys was challenging for Ngom following his transfer from an NAIA school (Ryerson) to an NCAA school (Florida State). Learning to take criticism from his teammates was a huge part of last year.
When he began to understand what they said over how they said it, he started to play better and earned a spot in the starting five this season.
Ngom was not always in love with the game of basketball. After his sister came back home to Senegal from her pro basketball season in France, she terrorized him on the basketball court.
“I was getting better and started training,” said Ngom. “It all began from there. People started seeing me. I was 7 foot already at 15 years old. I had the talent and height.”
Realizing he was good at the game, he kept going.
Ngom has grown to love playing the game of basketball. He wants to continue playing at the next level after college to become a pro basketball player.
“I want to help my family, help my mom and give her the best life possible,” said Ngom.
In the future, he aspires to continue his education in law school.
Coming from a humble household, he wants to be smart with his money.
“I am going to make my money and take care of my people,” Ngom said.
On the court, Ngom is committed to the game but off the court he is dedicated to his family.
A typical day for him back home in Senegal revolves around getting breakfast with his four sisters and hanging out with his little brother.
“I tried to teach him some basketball and even had a little hoop for him,” said Ngom.
It has been five and half years since Ngom has gone home. He is now an entirely new person and knows a different lifestyle but still looks forward to returning back to Senegal. He is hoping to return after he graduates this summer and before he settles into his new path next year.
The hardest part of flourishing in America for Ngom is being away from his mom. Growing up, they did not have much but she was always there for him. He recalls that most people in Senegal did not have freezers, but his mom worked hard to buy one. She then sold ice on the streets in Senegal so the family could eat every day.
“I did not know I was poor as a kid,” said Ngom. “My mom would go hungry and I didn’t know. She managed everything and did the most for me.”
Ngom’s mom is his biggest inspiration and why he wants to excel.
“I am doing this for her,” Ngom said.
As Ngom competes in the 2021-2022 season, it is anticipated that his hard work will pay off making his family even more proud of him.