Q & A: Montverde Academy associate coach Rae Miller on Malik Reneau’s game, his future and much more
Indiana’s 2022 recruiting class received a major boost on Monday afternoon with the commitment of five-star forward Malik Reneau.
Inside the Hall spoke with Montverde Academy associate coach Rae Miller about Reneau’s game, his potential impact in Bloomington, his relationship with Jalen Hood-Schifino and much more.
A full transcript of our conversation with Miller is available below:
What is Indiana getting in terms of Malik’s ability as a player and what impact can he have at the college level?
“Indiana is getting a kid who has been a two-time national champion. That’s number one. He’s played at the highest level of high school basketball and has played the best schedule in the country and has found a way to be a part of two winning teams. And he’s been instrumental in both years with us going the distance and winning the championship.
“He’s a low block scorer that probably has the best footwork in all of high school.”
Where does that come from, the footwork?
“It just comes from him having a feel and he’s worked really hard as a young kid – being bigger than other kids – at being able to score. He’s a lefty and we’ve done a lot of work here on pivoting and making sure that he understands angles. Especially when you’re not one of those guys that plays above the rim consistently… he knows how to score. As a sophomore, he attended a different school. A school in Miami. We played them and we had Day’Ron Sharpe and Scottie Barnes on the team. And Malik went for 22 and 12 against us. Those are two guys who were future first round (NBA) draft picks. He did that as a sophomore.
“He was able to score against that type of talent as a young kid. And he’s always had a knack for scoring. He’s got a really good nose for the basketball. He’s a good passer and he’s a great teammate.”
Where has he grown the most in the last two years and where does he have the most room to grow moving forward?
“The most room to grow would be still becoming more consistent with the jump shot. Ball handling can always improve. But the way that he’s grown the most is his physicality, his IQ for the game. We have a very deep playbook and he is a guy that gets things very quickly. He processes information very quickly and retains it. So his IQ has grown tremendously. His ability to finish consistently. When he was younger, he would miss a lot of things around the rim. He’s grown to a point where he makes more of those and goes and gets more defensive rebounds. He’s become much more complete of a player and he’s had to step up and play against better competition that he wouldn’t have played against at his old school.
“The other thing that’s really unique about him is that he’s able to score against extreme length. If you knew our team from last year, we had DaRon Holmes who is at Dayton and is about 6-foot-10 and Jalen Duren who is at Memphis. Both of those guys played on the low block with Malik. And he was the smallest of the three and he still found ways to score. I think that, going into college, will be a major help for him because he already has done that at the high school level against potential pros.”
The schedule Montverde plays is as tough as any team. How difficult is that for a high school kid to go through that grind and how much will that help going into college?
“It helps tremendously. They go into college well prepared and usually nothing that they see in college is new. It’s just a continuation of what they’ve had to handle in high school.”
What’s Malik’s relationship with Jalen Hood-Schifino both on and off the court?
“They live in the same dorm. They got to a lot of the same classes. They’re in practice every day. These are guys that came in last year and neither of them played a whole lot as juniors.
“But they practiced on that second group. So they’ve developed a chemistry that is really unique. And this year as seniors, they started just about every game together and have kind of leaned on each other for support throughout the year. And this is what Indiana gets is two guys who really know what to expect from each other and knows each other’s game inside and out. They’re comfortable with each other on the court and off the court. So the relationship is going to be important.”
Filed to: Malik Reneau