By George Von Benko
According to Nick Bosnic, scoring statistics never really meant much to him, but the former Laurel Highlands basketball star certainly put up some gaudy numbers during his career.
“I really didn’t realize that some of these things happened until I would see some articles from the past,” Bosnic explained. “My Mom would save the clips, and then I was able to look through it later. I didn’t even realize that a lot of that stuff happened. I didn’t really pay attention to that stuff until it was pointed out in an article or when I would receive an award.”
Bosnic is the all time leading scorer in LH history with 1,936 points.
“Laurel Highlands is a special place for me,” Bosnic said. “They have a lot of great basketball players who came through there. So being the top scorer is a special thing for me. I’m proud of my
He played on Mustang squads from 1989-90 through 1993-93. During his career, the Mustangs made four consecutive trips to the WPIAL playoffs.
“We had a good group of players all around,” Bosnic said. “Larry Smith my junior year was a really good basketball player and good shooter from the perimeter. My senior year we just had a good group of kids that played together for a long time. Gary Smitley, John Sabo, Jack Smarslak and Joe Strickler, and everybody played their role with my development and their contributions, we really became a good team.”
LH went 10-13 in 1989-90 and lost to Mt. Lebanon in the playoffs 85-60. In 1990-91, the Mustangs had a record of 8-16 and lost to Hempfield in the playoffs 100-52. The 1991-92 Mustangs went 17-6, and fell to Penn Trafford in the playoffs 88-79. In Bosnic’s senior season, LH was 23-0 entering the WPIAL playoffs, but suffered a disappointing loss to Woodland Hills 51-50.
“The loss to Woodland Hills was probably one of the most disappointing times in my basketball career,” Bosnic lamented. “We felt like we had a really good team. We knew Woodland Hills coming in was a good team, and they had some injuries during the season. We played them earlier in the season and beat them 54-46 at LH, but they were better than their low
seed. Unfortunately, we weren’t at our best and like I said they were capable and they beat us.”
Bosnic led the WPIAL in scoring as a junior averaging 29.9 ppg and he paced the WPIAL in scoring his senior campaign averaging 28.6 ppg.
“I tried to be a well rounded player,” Bosnic stated. “I played a little combination of inside and outside and as I got older I was on the perimeter more, but I tried to be a well rounded player and help the team in each and every way. My Dad really played a big role in that. He taught me fundamentals when I was young and he always would tell me that scoring isn’t the most important thing; it’s being able to play all the aspects of the game. I was lucky to have a father like that who taught me those fundamentals at a young age.”
Bosnic also has a soft spot for his former head coach at Laurel Highlands Mark John.
“Mark John was a special guy and we had a great relationship,” Bosnic offered. “Still do to this day. It always brings good feeling and memories just seeing him in the community. He made basketball enjoyable and gave me a passion for it. Everybody has their ups and downs, but he helped you through those, and brought excitement to playing the game.”
The 6’7” Bosnic earned all-county honors all four seasons at LH, and he was a second- team all-state pick as a senior. In 1993, he was named by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to its Fab Five team, recognizing the top five prep players in Western Pennsylvania.
He participated in the Pittsburgh Asics Roundball Classic, and he scored 12 points as the Pennsylvania All Stars defeated the US All Stars 114-78. He also won the slam dunk contest during the 1993 Dapper Dan Festival.
“I got an opportunity to see where I fit into the college landscape in that game,” Bosnic stated. “It was a good opportunity and a chance to see what the future was going to bring.”
Bosnic was heavily recruited when he graduated in 1993. He chose to play college basketball at the University of Maryland.
“I realized right away what a special place that was on the visit,” Bosnic explained. “I met the players and I saw what ACC basketball was. It was hard for me to look in any other direction.”
Bosnic played a little as a freshman at Maryland on a team that went 18-12. Bosnic scored 82 points, but he decided to transfer to Duquesne,
“It was a lot of immaturity and being away from home for the first time,” Bosnic said. “I didn’t realize until I left Maryland what a special place it was. I wanted to be closer to home and be the main player on a team.”
After sitting out a year, he didn’t play for John Carroll who recruited him to play at Duquesne, but instead for Scott Edgar who replaced Carroll.
Duquesne posted records of 9-18, 9-18, and 11-19 during Bosnic’s three seasons on the bluff. He tallied 939 career points at Duquesne.
“We couldn’t get things to click and we were in a lot of close games,” Bosnic said.
After graduating, Bosnic spent a season working for Rudy Marisa on the coaching staff at Waynesburg before he was hired as head coach at Connellsville High School. In seven seasons, he compiled a 104-75 record and took the Falcons to the playoffs three times that included a 57-47 loss to Chartiers Valley in the WPIAL championship game.
“It was a great experience and I coached some really good players,” Bosnic said. “I coached one of the best that ever played in this area James Hairston. It was just a great experience.”
Bosnic, 44, resides in Uniontown with his wife Faith and their three children Grace, Madalyn and Nick. Currently, Bosnic is the principal at Connellsville High School.