Sierra Pesnell | Times Intern
Natchitoches Central women’s head basketball coach Nikki Jones describes Nia Hardison as a player who has faced adversity. With a torn ACL her sophomore year and COVID-19 shutdowns her junior year, Hardison has overcome several obstacles throughout her high school career as she signs her letter of intent with Southern Mississippi Community College. Hardison’s mother, Daphane LaCour, said Hardison has been playing basketball since she was four.
LaCour recalled a baby picture of her holding a basketball, citing both sides of Hardison’s family as avid players. Both LaCour and Hardison’s father, Kentrell Hardison, praised her as a unique child with an ability to exceed at anything she put her mind to. “I’m happy she’s able to advance,” he said. Jones said this past season Hardison played several positions on the team, demonstrating her diverse abilities.
“I’m extremely proud of her and hopes she has successful college career,” Jones said.
The Natchitoches Central women’s basketball team attended Hardison’s signing to support their teammate. Ty’Renisha Bowers, a rising junior at Natchitoches Central, said Hardison’s competitive nature makes all of her teammates better.
Hardison said she’s excited for her new chapter at SMCC. The choice to sign with SMCC was recent. After visiting the campus and communicating with the SMCC women’s basketball team, Hardison decided it was the right option for her. Her parents said they’ve been supportive of her decision. Hardison said throughout her time playing for Natchitoches Central, it’s been a good experience and she’s seen growth in her ability. Her goals are to obtain a degree in physical therapy or coach, and continue on to play basketball at a four-year university.
After Hardison signed, Jones said the Natchitoches Central team will always be there to support her in future endeavors.