Mexico Scouting Report: Gotta Control Gustavo
Gustavo Ayon is the head of the Mexican snake, the Atlanta Hawk property has led Mexico’s national team at the 2013 FIBA Americas tournament where they have gone 3-1 in preliminary play and have earned a spot in the second round starting with a Thursday match versus Canada.
Mexico’s strong play has been one of the big surprises of the tournament. Ayon has never been able to help the national team at the World Cup or in the Olympics, but given its play thus far, that may change soon. Gustavo has dominated both ends. Scoring 22 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and blocking four shots in a victory versus the hosts Venezuela. He sits in third for tournament scoring with 17.8 points, first in rebounding with 9.5 per game and also first in blocked shots.
“The key to this good start has been the respect we have given the opponent and above all the seriousness that we had in defense” said the former Marine Ayon. “The basis of any success is to respect the partner, to be always united. Keep working. We can not think as players individually. It has been shown in the past that it does not work and you have to do it all in the collective” Ayon told Gonzalo Aguirregomezcorta of ESPN Deportes. “We must be very serious every day, that will give the team success. Must be very serious and think that we have not accomplished anything. Won three games that were important, but that’s in the past”. Ayon relfected.
Ayon, the third player from the land of Mexico to debut in the best league in the world, calls passing through the NBA as a big leap in his career. “I have greatly improved my physique and above all have come to understand more of the game aspects as essential in a competitive league ,” said the former player from New Orleans who was picked up in July off waivers by Atlanta. The Latino community in the worlds best league is scarce , so between them, among the natives of the countries from South America , the Caribbean and parts of North America in the NBA, they share a remarkable solidarity.“When I came to the Hornets Greivis Vasquez reached out to me , He is an excellent person , who had an incredible season and his friendship has been one of the things I most value since I have reached the NBA.”
Ayon’s numbers last season in the NBA weren’t all that impressive. However, his lack of production was largely due to lack of opportunity as he played only 13.3 minutes per game. Towards the end of July, the Milwaukee Bucks waived the 28-year-old Ayon. Just three days after being waived, though, the big man from Mexico inked a three-year, $4.5 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks, where he should figure into their rotation. Ayon was one of three big men that the Hawks signed this summer to help fill out their frontcourt as reserves, joining Elton Brand and Pero Antic. With two years in the NBA under his belts and the ability to play at either the four or the five, Ayon should find himself on the floor a good bit this season.
When HHC asked Rey Aquino a senior International basketball writer for Hoops Hype Canada (HHC) what’s been the difference for Ayon and also for his Team Mexico scouting report. He offered,
“Ayon won’t be called upon too often playing behind a potential star in Al Horford & Paul Milsap in Atlanta but when he does, he could definitely surprise some people like he has in Venezuela” Aquino told HHC staff.
“Gustavo has been great on both ends of the floor…very clinical player when in the pick-and-roll as a screener, solid defender with good instincts. He handled Luis Scola well, looking forward to monitoring his match up with Andrew Nicholson. Another name is Hernandez Gallego. Lets just say he is the Mexican Levon Kendall” Aquino added.
As for the perimeter?
“Cory Joseph should have no issues controlling starting point man Paul Stoll. Except Orlando Mendez, his sharp shooting well require the same treatment Canada gave Huertas from Brazil.” Aquino added.
There you have it, a in depth look at the Mexican National team. Let Phase 2 of the 2013 Fiba America World Cup Qualifiers begin! Tip off versus Mexico is set to take place Thursday at 1:30 eastern time.