If discovering someplace he might be within the beginning 5 from day one was his precedence, Malik Reneau absolutely might have positioned that chance on the school basketball panorama.
However with multiyear frontcourt starters Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson again, together with returning expertise like Jordan Geronimo within the combine, Indiana might need been one of many final locations to go for a participant simply attempting to find assured minutes.
Reneau knew the state of affairs in Bloomington when he dedicated in April.
“It is positively a developmental alternative, however I am in there, and I am attempting to play too, so it should be aggressive within the practices and stuff, and it is simply going to be good for everybody within the entrance courtroom,” Reneau advised The Day by day Hoosier proper after he introduced his dedication.
Indiana wasn’t the primary problem Reneau took on the place he made issues tougher on himself than he needed to.
The Miami, Fla. product was the star of his Mater Academy crew as a sophomore in 2019-20, averaging 21 factors and 11 rebounds alongside the way in which. However slightly than remaining content material with being a neighborhood star, Reneau went to Montverde Academy with the data that he would possibly come off the bench as a junior, and he did, whereas creating in opposition to present Detroit Piston lottery choose Jalen Duren.
As soon as once more, Reneau is taking the lengthy view and betting on himself as he embarks on what might be one other first 12 months reserve function.
Reneau arrived in Bloomington a month in the past not wanting like your typical faculty freshman. At 6-foot-9 and 235 kilos, his physique highlights one other profit gained from two years at Montverde.
“Once I sat down with (IU coaching) Coach Clif (Marshall) it was actually sustaining my weight and constructing muscle and attempting to remain at an excellent weight, not attempting to realize weight or shed some pounds, as a result of I got here in already constructed and had that weight on me,” Reneau stated on Thursday. “So, I am actually simply sustaining my weight, getting stronger within the weight room.”
Going up in opposition to Jackson-Davis and Thompson now every day, Reneau is already discovering out why he must get stronger.
Despite the fact that he was enjoying in opposition to high-end competitors at a nationwide prep college, Reneau has discovered a few of his outdated methods do not work in opposition to grown males.
“I have been going in opposition to Race and Trayce for 2 weeks now,” Reneau stated. “You possibly can inform the bodily distinction from highschool and faculty. It is onerous to bump our bodies with Race and Trayce as a result of they’re all strong and it is not simple to maneuver them.
“So, I’ve to seek out completely different strikes or get previous them with pace and never simply overpower them and that is the place I discovered an enormous distinction from highschool and from faculty. I imply, I really feel prefer it’s extra a finesse sport and never simply attempting to again down your man.”
Two years at Montverde additionally taught Reneau what it takes to place a successful product on the courtroom. The Eagles gained back-to-back nationwide titles during the last two seasons. Reneau skilled these two years each from the angle of a reserve and a starter.
Maybe that is why once you ask him what he can do to assist this Indiana crew, scoring the basketball sounds extra like a byproduct than a aim.
He is aware of the sport is far more advanced.
“I might say having a successful mentality, competing on the courtroom,” Reneau stated when requested what he can carry to the ground for IU. “, doing no matter it takes to assist my crew win, not solely you recognize attempting to attain the basketball however assistance on the defensive finish, set good screens to the purpose guards and stuff like that and simply attempt to do all of the little stuff and that is what is going on to assist my sport increase into like scoring.”
Reneau will possible start his freshman season on the bench, serving as a backup for each Jackson-Davis and Thompson. His capacity to play each spots will assist him maximize his time on the ground, whether or not he begins or not. That is been his expertise to this point in apply, as he is been enjoying at each the 4 and the 5 in scrimmages this summer season.
“I have been enjoying the 4 and the 5, however I have been enjoying the 4 more often than not, going up in opposition to Race quite a bit,” Reneau stated.
Whereas he arrives at IU highly-skilled on the block, Reneau’s future within the sport at 6-foot-9 is probably going extra on the perimeter. He’s getting that probability at IU on the 4, which he confirmed has been extra outdoors of the paint place in Indiana’s system.
To remain out of the paint, Reneau is aware of the areas of his sport that have to be developed.
“Enhance my three-point shot, and simply being assured with my soar shot and dealing on attacking close-outs,” he stated when requested the a part of his sport he’s targeted on enhancing.
The hope for Indiana is that the event runs each methods with an extended and powerful high-caliber expertise like Reneau in this system.
Final 12 months, Trayce Jackson-Davis appeared to enhance down the stretch, maybe buoyed by dealing with size in apply on daily basis. That is one thing he did not see as a sophomore.
Indiana has one in every of its deepest and most proficient rosters in latest reminiscence. In some respects, it’s a Montverde-like method. Whereas some might must sacrifice minutes, everybody will get higher and if the whole lot goes in response to plan, the crew wins.
“It is going to assist not solely me however all people takes their sport to the following stage and that is what we want,” Reneau stated of Indiana’s depth.
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