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Sixers forward Andres Nocioni

Sixers forward Andres Nocioni

October 1 Philadelphia Daily News:

Andres Nocioni has been here less than 2 weeks, but he is Philadelphia. He is everything even the most casual fans want for their teams. He is tough, rough, sometimes gruff, but with a burning desire to win and the skill, will and tactical experience to help accomplish that.

“This team may have been the best team for him to come to, with how Philly fans are and the mentality here for Philly sports fans,” TV analyst Reggie Miller said the other day after visiting the 76ers’ training camp at Saint Joseph’s University. “He’s a hard-hat kind of guy. He does all the little things on your team to help you win. He’s one of those guys, like Dennis Rodman and Bill Laimbeer; you couldn’t stand to play against them, but you wanted to play with them.”

Sort of like Miller.

Philly fans, by nature, are also impatient. They want what they want and they want it yesterday, if not sooner. But they will have to wait patiently for Nocioni, the 6-7 forward/guard, as he fully recovers from a sprained left ankle suffered in August while training with Argentina’s national team for the World Championships in Turkey. He was determined to try to play through the injury, but that was out once the Sixers‘ medical staff saw the MRI reports.

Philadelphia, they did the right thing,” Nocioni said. “They believed I couldn’t play. I tried to push myself really hard, but . . . ”

At 30, he knew this probably was his last chance to play for his country at what he called “a high level.”

“The next one [in 2014], I can [possibly] go, but I don’t know if I can be at a high level like I was this year,” he said.

Even now, Sixers coach Doug Collins has Nocioni mostly watching the practice sessions.

“I hope he becomes a 20-minute a night [player] for us,” Collins said. “He’s such a competitor; I don’t want him to get to a point where you’re telling him to shut it down. I told him we’re building.

“He’s in much better shape than I thought he’d be, because he really hasn’t been able to do much. He’s going to give us toughness, and he can space the floor, because he can shoot threes and play multiple positions. I hope he’s real physical, something Darius Songaila is, too. I hope he brings us a real edge.

“I told him I want him to be ready by the last three to four exhibition games, where he can really go full-bore. I don’t want him to roll that ankle again and be set back.”

In his homeland, Nocioni is known as “Chapu,” after El Chapulin Colorado, a parody of a Mexican TV superhero, loosely translated as “The Red Grasshopper.””

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