St. Frances senior girls’ hoops duo headed to Michigan and Louisiana, respectively

Nia Clouden (seated green hat) and Taneara Moore (seated light blue hat) pose with their St. Frances Academy girls’ basketball teammates Wednesday. Clouden signed to play for Michigan State University and Moore is headed to Southern University in Louisiana.

St. Frances Academy girls’ basketball coach Jerome Shelton remembers the first time seeing Nia Clouden at Sudbrook Middle School five years ago.

“We actually gone to watch another player so we watched Nia Clouden play that tonight and afterwards I said I had to find out who this player is,” said Shelton. “She was doing great things on the court and she looked very confident. I said this is a player we need to have in our program.”

Shelton was able to get Clouden to St. Frances where she’s become one of the nation’s elite point guards. Wednesday, Clouden signed a scholarship letter to Michigan State University.

Clouden’s teammate, Taneara Moore, signed with Southern University. The New Orleans college was a perfect fit for Moore, a reserve guard who also a cheerleader and is involved with other extracurricular programs at the small east Baltimore school.

“It was real family oriented and I want to go to a HBCU (Historically Black College and University) if I didn’t want to pursue my basketball career,” said Moore, who helped the Panthers volleyball team to a second straight IAAM C Conference title a couple of weeks ago. “I had a lot of interest from other schools, but Southern was the only to offer.”

Attracting more than two dozen offers, Clouden committed to Michigan State over DePaul, Rutgers, South Florida and West Virginia.

For Clouden, last season’s Gatorade Maryland Player of the Year, it was about family.

“I have a lot of family there that I don’t even know but I’ll get to know,” said Clouden, currently the No. 43 prospect in the Class of 2018 by ESPN’s Hoops Gurlz. “Coach [Suzy] Merchant and Mox¬†(assistant Amaka Agugua) were really honest and made me feel at home.”

Clouden averaged 12.8 points and four assists last season for the Panthers, who won their second consecutive IAAM A Conference championship and finished ranked No. 1 in the area. The East Chase Street school placed 17th in the final USA Today Super 25 national rankings, and lost only to Tennessee’s Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in the semifinals of the Dick’s Sporting Goods High School National Tournament in New York.