|No. 17 – Tennessee Moonshiners|
|Species||Spotted Leopard ( Felidae )|
Palm Beach, FL
|Listed height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Listed weight||186 lb (84 kg)|
|School||Savannah River University|
|FBA draft||2018 / Round: 1 / Pick: 18th overall|
|Selected by the Tennessee Moonshiners|
|Pro playing career||2018–present|
|2020 Salary||$3 million|
|(IC) Agent||Lazarus Otter|
|(OOC) Usage||Ask me before any use|
Kiara Hughes was the first of two twins born to a stay-at-home mom and a middle school physical education teacher; her brother, Keonte, was born just eight minutes later. Life in Palm Beach, Florida was not as easy for the Hughes as it was for the more affluent citizens closer to the coastline, but they were able to dodge the crime and poverty of the West Palm Beach “zoo” as their mother called it. Being twins, Kiara and Keonte were extremely competitive in everything they did, each wanting to outdo and outperform the other. And naturally with their father teaching phys-ed., they took to sports. Keonte played baseball and soccer, and while Kiara also played soccer, she was an aspiring junior gymnast, coming in 2nd in the Florida Junior Gymnastics Championships in 2006 at age 10.
But it was basketball that the Hughes would shine in together, with Kiara leading the way on the Palm Beach Athletic Club Panthers youth team. She proved to be the better of the twins as the Panthers would win back-to-back state FAAU championships in 2007 and 2008, the latter coming after Keonte quit the team to focus on his new favorite sport: football. The young leopardess would move up to the PBAC’s Under-16 team the next year, which was an amazing feat considering she was only 13 at the time. But her already polished ball-handling and shooting abilities garnered her enough playing time to make a splash, and by the time she left the team in 2012, she had lead the Panthers to three more state FAAU championships, as well as 3rd in the national tournament. She played only one year of high school basketball, but it was enough to get her numerous offers from big schools, such as Florida Everglade and Underwood. However, it was little-known Savannah River University that Kiara chose because it was a smaller school that wouldn’t overwhelm her, and it had a blossoming basketball program that was still close to home. She also had the added bonus of dragging Keonte along with her to play football at the school, convincing him to snub powerhouse Florida Feline in the process.
Kiara sat out the majority of her freshman year in 2014-15, battling knee and wrist ailments that only saw her get into five games. But in the 2015-16 season, a healthy Kiara proved that she could handle the rigors of the college game, leading Savannah River to a 27-5 record and an Elite Eight berth in the FCAA tournament, averaging 17.4 points per game from the shooting guard position and racking up almost 8 assists as well. Her junior year saw her stock rise even further, with the leopardess improving her scoring average to 20.8 PPG, which was 3rd among female players and 14th overall nationwide in 2016-17. But her team didn’t make the tournament after dropping three of their last four games, which she took personally. “I’ll prove them (the committee) that leaving us out was a mistake,” she was quoted as saying before leading her school to the 2017 FNIT championship and scoring 31 points herself in a 84-63 thrashing of Rootgers in the title game.
Scouts and pundits wanted Kiara to declare for the FBA Draft in 2017, but she quickly declared that she would be returning to Savannah River for her senior season. Despite her scoring numbers declining to 18.3 PPG, she worked on her defensive game as well as her passing, averaging 9.3 assists per game while filling in for the starting point guard, who sustained a season-ending ankle injury midway through the season. More importantly to her, it allowed Kiara to graduate on time with her brother, earning her degree in finance with a 3.2 GPA while Keonte finished with a 3.0 and his degree in sociology. She hopes to be drafted to an FBA team at the same time as her brother, who has UFFL stardom in his eyes as a standout receiver. To Kiara, she sees this as just another opportunity to push her brother in her never-ending quest to one-up him in their sibling rivalry.