The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have signed forward/center Gustavo Ayón. Contract details will be posted here later today.
“We are extremely excited about this signing,” said Hornets GM Dell Demps. “Gustavo is someone who we have had on our radar for a while and we believe he is going to be a great addition to our roster. He is a highly coveted international player and we look forward to working with him as he transitions into being an NBA player.”
Ayón (6-10, 250), averaged 15.9 points on 66 percent shooting while grabbing 8.2 rebounds per game this season over 10 games for Fuenlabrada of Spain. In the ACB league, which is considered the best domestic league outside of the NBA, he ranks 4th in points, 2nd in rebounds, 4th in defensive rebounds, 1st in offensive rebounds, 1st in two-point field goals and leads the league in index rating. Last season for Fuenlabrada, he averaged 10.8 points on 67 percent shooting and 6.3 rebounds over 22.6 minutes in 33 games. He was named the league’s “Best Newcomer” for his performance in 2010-11. During the 2010-11 season, Ayón started ahead of Bismack Biyombo, the 7th overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings.
“Although I had a lot of opportunities with other teams, I chose the Hornets because of my relationship with Dell, Monty and the staff of the team,” Ayón said. “When I visited New Orleans, I felt comfortable with the surroundings and really like the positive direction of the organization.”
Ayón, a Mexico native, grew up playing basketball in his home country and contemplated attending San Jose State at the age of 20 but declined the opportunity to play basketball in Mexico. After leading his team, Halcones, to back-to-back Mexican titles in 2007-08 and 2008-09, at the age of 24, he signed with Fuenlabrada in Spain. In the summer of 2009, while playing for the Mexican National Team in the Americas Championship, he gained notoriety for collecting 18 points, nine rebounds and three assists in a head-to-head battle with Luis Scola of the Houston Rockets.
Ayón, born April 1, 1985 in Tepic, Mexico, is just the third Mexican-born NBA player in history. He joins Horacio Llamas, who played two seasons with the Phoenix Suns, and current Charlotte Bobcat Eduardo Nájera.