Connecticut Sun's Nia Clouden reflects on her first year in the WNBA
Nia Clouden was born on May 17th, 2000 in Silver Spring, Maryland. Her parents Karim and Tarra, both originally from Brooklyn NY, relocated to Maryland after her dad completed his military service. She has an older sister, Emoni, a model that has made TV appearances on Project Runway, The Jimmy Fallon Show, and in several magazines.
Nia took an interest in basketball around age 10, first using a little plastic ball and basket that stuck to the wall. Her dad noted how she never missed a shot from anywhere on this little hoop and could control her dribble with this little basketball without even looking. This prompted him to sign her up for a basketball class at the YMCA. Although she wanted to leave on the 1st day because she was the only girl when class started, she stayed thanks to her Dad's encouragement and soon emerged as the best in the class. The following year she started playing for the MD Lady Tigers AAU team and would play summer ball with them until her High School graduation.
Nia Graduated from Saint Frances Academy at the top of her class, a 2-time Gatorade player of the year, 4-time all-metro selection, and won 3 championships in 4 years.
She attended Michigan State University where she started and played in every single game of her career. Nia achieved All-conference honors in all 4 years and scored over 1800 points, placing her 2nd all time for women’s basketball at Michigan State. Nia acquired her undergraduate degree in just 3 years at Michigan state. She received All-American honors in her senior year for the Spartans. Nia was selected 12th overall in the 1st round of the WNBA Draft by the Connecticut Sun. She is currently playing in Poland during the WNBA offseason. She scored 14 points and led her team to a come from behind victory in her 1st game for Lublin.
We catch up with Nia right after she played the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA Finals and before she left to play in Poland.
Boss XL Mag - How was the experience of going all the way to the WNBA Finals in your first year?
Nia Clouden - It was surreal and sometimes I still can’t believe it myself. I learned a lot my rookie year and one of the things I learned was what it takes to get to the big stage. We had to lock in as a team and I was fortunate to have some great vets around me to show me the way.
Boss XL Mag - What were some of the major adjustments you had to make during your first year?
Nia Clouden - Not playing consistently was a MAJOR adjustment. From day 1 when I started playing, I used to have to ask my coaches to take me out so I could rest haha! So, I had to adjust to that mentally and physically. Physically I had to stay in shape and on top of my game to be ready when my number is called. Mentally, you just have to stay tough and know your time is coming. A quote that helped me was “The day you plant the seed isn’t the same day you eat the fruit”.
Boss XL Mag - When did you realize that you was going to be a major college star when you was younger?
Nia Clouden - In College Lol! I’ve never been one to say what I was gonna do or brag, I just go out and play. I will say my junior year in High School, we went 30-1 and played on TV for a national championship, and I won Maryland Gatorade Player of the Year. I might’ve been like “yeah I think I got something here” around that time lol.
Boss XL Mag - What advice do you give an aspiring player now in High School?
Nia Clouden - Work on your game and focus on being the best YOU that you can be. Don’t try to be someone else that you’re not. That goes for on and off the court.
Boss XL Mag - What are some of your plans for the future?
Nia Clouden - I want to be at the top of my craft. I want to win some championships and play in some All-star games. I want to see our women’s game expand! I want to travel, eat good food, buy property, and just enjoy life! Pretty simple lol.
Follow Nia Clouden on IG @niaclouden