Hornets Add Mexican Forward Gustavo Ayon for 2012 NBA Season.

Hornets Add Mexican Forward Gustavo Ayon for 2012 NBA Season.

Wed, 2012-01-11

The New Orleans Hornets have seen a lot of changes in their roster this year. Obviously, the biggest change being the trade of point guard, Chris Paul, to the LA Clippers. However, not all is lost as the Hornets picked up some exceptional talent that hails just south-of-the-border. 

Gustavo Ayon is a 6-foot-10, 245-pound center from Mexico who was playing in the top division of Spanish basketball before making the move to the NBA. 

Ayon, 26, is only the third Mexican-born player in NBA history, but because he speaks very little English, Coach Monty Williams said Ayon might face a few hurdles to begin his career.

“Being real about it, any time you don’t speak English well, you’re certainly going to have a problem with basketball jargon,” Williams said.

Yet, do not expect the issue of a language barrier to get in the way of Ayon’s dream of playing professional basketball. 

Emilio Duran, Ayon’s agent, said: “Obviously it’s a big change for him. It’s going to take a period of adaptation to the league, to the culture, to everything. Once he’s settled, eventually he’s going to try to improve every day and do the best for the team.”

Ayon’s production made him a stand out player in Spain. In just 10 games this season with Fuenlabrada, he averaged 15.9 points on 65.7 percent shooting and 8.2 rebounds. Not to mention, he was voted as the league’s most valuable player this past November. The Hornets are hoping Ayon will continue this production for the 2012 NBA season. 

Ayon joins Horacio Llamas, who played for Phoenix for two seasons in the 1990s, and Eduardo Najera, a current Charlotte Bobcat, as the only Mexican-born players in the NBA.