NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ -- Nick Bisaccia received his indoctrination into New Providence basketball as a freshman.

Although he spent his game time playing for the junior varsity as a ninth-grader last year, Bisaccia practiced with the varsity team.

"Nick caught my attention when playing in a PAL game as an eighth-grader," New Providence boys basketball head coach Art Cattano said. "I noticed his skill level, loved his intensity, and saw that he knew how to fundamentally play the game. As a result of this, Nick played with the JV as a freshman but practiced with the varsity team, which turned out to be one of the best teams in school history."

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New Providence won the Group 1 state championship last season. Although Bisaccia didn't see playing time with that team, he got a taste of what a championship-level team is all about. Now, as a sophomore, Bisaccia is leading the next generation of Pioneer varsity players and having a standout season.

He is averaging 10.6 points per game, 3.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists. But those numbers are higher than that lately, coinciding with the team's radically improved performance in February. Bisaccia is averaging 13.6 points in his last five games and 4.4 assists. He is the Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors Pioneer Athlete of the Week.

"Nick has been a very solid player for us this season," Cattano said. "He currently is second in scoring, rebounding (which is great for a kid who is 5'10"), and assists."

Much as the previous group of seniors made the journey from sophomores to a state title last season, Bisaccia has exhibited wisdom, confidence and maturity beyond his years for a Pioneer team that has recovered from a rough first month to go 7-4 in its last 11 games.

"Recently, Nick came to see me to let me know he wouldn’t be able to attend the weekend team camp with us this summer because of another commitment," Cattano said. "He said he would go in the future when he would have more of a leadership role.  I told him you still can lead as a sophomore and that he was doing a good job at that right now.

"I am confident that because of Nick’s work ethic that he will continue to grow as a player and person on and off the court. He understands the expectations of our program and I know that I will be able to count on him the next two years."

Bisaccia addressed his role on the team in a Q&A with TAPinto New Providence this week.

Q: What position are you most comfortable playing?
A: I am very comfortable playing either the '1' or the '2', and I enjoy playing both on and off the ball at times during a game

Q: Describe your role on this year's New Providence basketball team?
A: My role this year is to be a scorer along with distributing and creating for my teammates. After graduating much of last year's team, we had to come together and find a new identity

Q: Have you seen your game change since your last year?  
A: I think all facets of my game have improved. I am much stronger than last year and my shooting has been more consistent.

Q: What has been the best advice you have received from a coach?
A: Don't think, just play.

Q: What has been your most memorable game to date?
A: This past weekend's game against Gov. Livingston (a 67-59 New Providence win) was very exciting. It was a great atmosphere and overall it was a great team win that hopefully gives us a boost going into the state tournament.

Q: What do you like most about New Providence High School?
A: New Providence is a small town where everybody knows everybody. I am very lucky that I get to play with all my friends I have known for my whole life

Q: Do you have a favorite subject?
A: I enjoy some of the hands on classes and electives. This year I was able to take an Engineering and Design class that I really like

Q: Who is your favorite athlete?
A: My favorite athlete is Mike Trout. He's a Jersey boy that is extremely humble and is easily the best player in baseball.   

Q: Do you have a role model?
A: I would have to say my role model is Derek Jeter. He would say the right things all the time and was a class act on and off the field. Jeter was always a leader that everybody gravitated towards and looked up to.  

Q: What do you like to do when you are not playing a sport?
A: When I am not playing sports I enjoy spending time with my friends and family. With a busy schedule between school and sports, I greatly value the time I get to spend with those close to me.

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The Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors Pioneer Athlete of the Week is sponsored by Joe Eberle Weichert Realtors located at 64 Main Street in Chatham.  Joe is a 25 year New Providence resident who is an active member of the New Providence community. Contact Joe anytime, whether it's to get started on helping you realize your real estate goals and dreams, or just to ask a question about the local market.  Joe can be reached at jeberle@weichert.com or call 908-868-4800