It can be a lonely existence for Milwaukee Bucks forward Gustavo Ayon. The 6-foot-10 Ayon arrived from Orlando in the same February trade deadline deal that brought J.J. Redick to the Bucks. Ayon has played sparingly since his arrival, averaging 3.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in six appearances. The soon-to-be 28-year-old is working hard with the coaching staff before games and is hoping Milwaukee can be the place to launch his NBA career. Ayon played with the New Orleans Hornets last season before being traded to Orlando in the Ryan Anderson deal. He also has played with several professional teams in Spain. As the only current Mexican-born player in the NBA, he feels some pressure to succeed as Eduardo Najera did before him. "It is a responsibility because you are representing an entire country," Ayon said in an interview translated from Spanish to English. "No matter what you do, if you play well or you play poorly, it reflects on your country. "You have a responsibility both on and off the court and I like it. I consider it a privilege and I do it with pleasure and pride. I wish that many more Mexican players shared in this responsibility. I hope for a future with many more players in the league." Bucks coach Jim Boylan likes what he sees from Ayon. When the Bucks had three key players out of the lineup in Sacramento earlier this month, Ayon responded with an energetic performance (12 points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes) that helped the Bucks to a 115-113 victory over the Kings. "What I see so far is a guy who is a physical player, with very good basketball skills," Boylan said. "He kind of has a feel for the game and sees the action coming. "He's a good passer. I haven't had enough practice time with him to really get up and scrimmage and see what's going on, to have a totally confident feeling to give you an evaluation of him. "But what I see so far I really like. I think he's a good piece for our team in the future. This year, just given the circumstances, the trade came at midseason and we have a lot of guys at that position (power forward). "It makes it a bit difficult to be fair to him, to give him enough time out there on the floor." Ayon came to the sport at a late age in American terms, not concentrating on basketball until he was 18. He grew up in a small town of about 1,000, Zapoteca, in the Mexican state of Nayarit in the western part of the country. Ayon played three years at the university in Puebla and later for a pro team in Xalapa in Veracruz before heading to Europe.
Bucks' Gustavo Ayon is NBA's only Mexican-born player
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel | Mar 24