That’s A Wrap: Malik Reneau

  • 04/17/2024 11:10 am in

Welcome to “That’s A Wrap,” our player-by-player recap of the 2023-24 Indiana Hoosiers. Today: Malik Reneau.

Reneau (33 games): 15.4 points, six rebounds, 2.7 assists and 55.8 FG% in 28.7 minutes per game.

Previously: Gabe Cupps, Mackenzie Mgbako

Montverde Academy product and Miami, Florida native Malik Reneau took a leap forward in his second season at Indiana.

A top-30 recruit out of high school who committed to the Hoosiers in the spring of 2022 following a coaching change at Florida, Reneau started all 33 games as a sophomore.

A lefty with a wide array of post moves, Reneau and fellow sophomore Kel’el Ware worked well in tandem offensively for most of the season. Ware’s presence as a lob threat, coupled with Reneau’s savviness as a passer, led to plenty of connections at the rim for the duo.

As much as Reneau’s scoring ability in the paint is discussed, his passing is one of his major strengths. He finished Big Ten play with an assist rate of 18.1 percent, which ranked 19th-best in the league. While he’s still learning to navigate double teams in the post and sometimes kept the ball too long rather than making a quick pass, racking up 88 assists while playing primarily in the post as a sophomore is impressive.

Although he’s not an explosive athlete or leaper, Reneau’s body and strength, coupled with his footwork, helped him develop into one of the Big Ten’s most efficient post-finishers. The 6-foot-9 forward shot 59.7 percent on 2s in conference play, the 10th-best mark in the Big Ten.

Reneau scored 20 or more points seven times, including a 34-point outburst against Kennesaw State on Dec. 29 when Ware was sidelined with COVID-19. He also showed off an ability to hit the occasional 3-pointer and mostly had the green light to take shots when open from a distance. For the season, he went 15-for-45 (33.3 percent) on 3s.

The key areas where Reneau can still fine-tune his game moving forward are on the glass, free-throw shooting and his persistent foul issues.

Reneau finished the Big Ten season as the league’s 20th-best offensive rebounder but didn’t rank in the top 25 on the defensive glass. Upping his game on the boards should be a clear emphasis as he prepares for his junior season.

At the free throw line, Reneau shot 68.3 percent on 142 attempts. That percentage was better than Indiana’s mark as a team, but getting into the mid-70s would be a welcome improvement next season.

The foul issues, however, might be the most critical issue for Reneau to address next season. He fouled out seven times and finished eight games with four fouls. After averaging 6.8 fouls per 40 minutes as a freshman, according to KenPom, Reneau averaged 4.3 fouls per 40 minutes in year two. While the improvement was significant, the room for growth in defending without fouling is substantial.

Bottom line: Reneau was an All-Big Ten honorable mention selection as a sophomore, an accurate representation of his season that featured plenty of ups and a few downs. He’ll be viewed as one of Indiana’s leaders entering next season and there’s no doubt Reneau wants to win based on the emotion and passion he plays with every night. For his game to continue to move forward, Reneau must be able to play more minutes without fouling and become more assertive on the glass on both ends of the floor.

Quotable: “I really got the motivation from Trayce (Jackson-Davis) and Race (Thompson), seeing how they played in the whole Big Ten and seeing how they dominated. I just needed time to understand the game and go out there. Now I’m playing nice and with my pace and being able to score on either block and finish with both hands, step out and create my shot from the 3 ball, shoot the 3 ball, too. I just feel like the year I had just watching Trayce’s stuff, I saw a lot. And now my game is slowing down and I’m able to create plays for myself and for others.” – Reneau on Dec. 29 after scoring 34 points against Kennesaw State.

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