After a recruitment reminiscent of Indiana’s open-and-shut courtship of Tamar Bates last year, Indiana landed five star 2022 power forward Malik Reneau from Montverde Academy about two months ago, on April 29.
Reneau, the 6’8” 210 lb four man, played alongside fellow Indiana commit Jalen Hood-Schifino at Montverde Academy last season, where they won the Geico National Championship together. Reneau had originally committed to the home state Florida Gators, but reopened his recruitment after Mike White was hired away by Georgia.
Indiana, led by Kenya Hunter, had been involved in the initial recruitment, but didn’t get a ton of traction until the second time around, in part due to Hood-Schifino’s recruiting to join him as teammates with the Hoosiers. A call from Mike Woodson also let Reneau know early on that the Hoosiers were prioritizing him this spring.
24/7’s Brandon Jenkins has the lefty tabbed as a power-five starter out of the gate, which may be true on most other rosters. Indiana, however, has a lot of talent and experience at the four and five spot in Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson, so Reneau’s path to the starting lineup isn’t as clear in Bloomington.
Reneau describes himself as a “stretch-four”, which is true to the extent that he has more scoring range than the aforementioned power forwards on Indiana’s existing roster. While not as explosive an athlete as Trayce, he’s quicker than Race and has very polished footwork for his age, plus a midrange shot that will force opposing bigs to defend outside of the paint.
Even if he doesn’t start right away, having him on the roster gives Indiana the depth to allow Jordan Geronimo to fully transition to the three spot - something he’s reportedly working on - without being too thin up front. Reneau will likely back up Thompson at first, but could see more minutes against smaller, more athletic teams. He may even see some minutes alongside Thompson against bigger teams if Trayce is in foul trouble.
At Montverde Academy, Reneau was on TV a lot, so there’s plenty of film of him out there, for those interested.
He shows a definite preference for his dominant left hand when driving or handling in the high post, understandable for a guy his size, but can finish extremely well with both hands around the rim and has a deep arsenal of moves to beat guys in the low post, which should be a challenge for the dinosaur bigs of the Big Ten to defend.
Another thing that stands out with Reneau is his feel for the game. He tends to get himself in great position for every rebound (he grabbed 9 in 23 minutes in the Jordan Brand Classic) and gets a good portion of his points off of backdoor cuts when his man takes his eyes off him.
Defensively, he should be better suited for some of the true stretch four and fives than either Trayce and Race are. The only knock on his potential as a real perimeter player right now is his outside shot, which is far from his specialty at this stage in his career. I counted two attempts in the above highlight and it doesn’t appear as though he took too many more, if these partial statistics are at all representative.
Like Hood-Schifino, he’s had experience playing and winning at the highest level of high school hoops and should make the transition to college play a little more easily than some of his peers. It also helps Indiana’s overall recruiting profile to consistently land players of this caliber, and could payoff in Indiana’s recruitment of their teammate Kwame Evans Jr., the No. 4 player in the 2023 class.
Overall, Indiana fans should expect to see plenty of Reneau this season, whether off the bench or in the starting lineup at some point. His presence is a huge boost to Indiana’s front court talent level and he should give Indiana a midrange scoring threat it hasn’t had in years.