Aurrecoechea inks pro deal with Icelandic Team Þór Akureyri


Photo Courtesy: NM State Athletics

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The Spaniard is headed to Iceland. 

After finishing up his NM State men’s basketball career this past March and receiving his bachelor’s degree this summer, Ivan Aurrecoecha has signed a professional contract with Þór Akureyri (translated to Thor Akureyi in English) – a men’s basketball team based out of Akureyi, Iceland.

Aurrecoechea’s new squad is in Úrvalsdeild karla, which is the best professional men’s basketball league in the country of Iceland.

An All-WAC First Team and an NABC All-District Six Second Team selection in 2019-20, Aurrecoechea starred as one of the league’s premier front court players through his final season of collegiate deployment. Ranked as the team’s third-leading scorer (11.4 ppg) through the season, the numbers of the Madrid, Spain, product spiked substantially in WAC action. 

When teammate Trevelin Queen went down with a knee injury in the middle of January, Aurrecoechea stepped to the forefront of the Aggies’ attack. Through the five-game stretch without Queen, Aurrecoechea matched his career-high by putting in 23 points on two occasions – to help his team remain unbeaten in league action. In WAC play he averaged 13.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game and came up with each of his three 20+ point outings. Aurrecoechea led the league in field goal percentage (.579) and ranked among the top five in the WAC in terms of offensive rebounding (2.0 per game, fifth). 

NM State – as well as the vast majority of the other NCAA Division I men’s basketball teams across the country – wrapped up its season prematurely in March of 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 epidemic. The Aggies closed out their season on Thursday, March 5, with an 83-50 shellacking of California Baptist which put the finishing touches on their perfect 16-0 run through WAC regular season action. That win made the Aggies the first time in league history to go 16-0 in regular season WAC play and was the team’s 19th-straight win – a streak which is the second-longest active streak in the nation.

The Reactions
Andrew Johnson | Head Coach • Thor Akureyri | “Having just arrived for my first season here at Thor, I could not be more excited to have Ivan signed with our team. As everyone at NM State, surely knows, Ivan plays with great passion and intensity and he exudes toughness. I expect his energy to spread through the entire team. Within our offense, we go through the center position a great deal, whether from the low post or out on the perimeter, so Ivan will have a major impact on that end of the floor. He will have the opportunity to influence the game on offense in a variety of ways, while hopefully expanding and continuing to develop his individual offensive game. I also, very much appreciate, NM State, Associate Head Coach, James Miler, who spent a lot of time on the phone with me speaking not only about Ivan’s game, but also how wonderful a teammate and person he is off the floor.”

Chris Jans | Head Coach • NM State | “We are extremely excited for Ivan as he takes this well-deserved next step on his basketball journey. We love when our players finish their eligibility with a degree in hand and go on to chase their professional basketball dreams both in the United States and abroad. Ivan will be a wonderful professional player.”

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