Florida kick started their 2022 recruiting class on Wednesday landing 6’7” forward Malik Reneau.
This is a huge commitment for the Gators, a physical 6’8” power forward who is an instant mismatch in pretty much every collegiate setting.
Reneau is currently the 43rd ranked player in the class playing for powerhouse Florida high school program Montverde Academy. Plenty of recruiting analysts see Reneau as a 5-star athlete, someone who just hasn’t had the opportunity to showcase all of his skills since he is surrounded with so many stars at Montverde.
Montverde was a great setting to see Reneau in as he played next to high level players, something that will be the case at Florida. He can play a secondary role to a high level, controlling the glass and moving the ball around the court intelligently. Reneau is known as an extremely unselfish player, something that also may have led to him being ranked lower than he should have been since he’d rather play team basketball than try to take over single handedly and showcase his abilities.
In terms of 2022 players Reneau looks one of the most college ready. He’s got a good physical build at 6’7” and 200 pounds and has good leaping ability and mobility, something every modern college forward needs. However, it’s his mental game that’s really prepared for the college level. He plays with a high level of intelligence and basketball IQ, whether that’s in passing scenarios, finding space for his own bucket, or setting great screens to free up guards.
For all those reasons, it’s easy to imagine the fit of Reneau on any high major roster. He can be someone teams play through in the high post, or use as a dunker spot option. He might be best used as a screener who catches the ball in the short roll before finding an open shooter or going one on one for his own offense.
Florida is likely to lose Anthony Duruji after this season, and the status of Keyontae Johnson is still unknown. That means there is likely going to be a lot of power forward minutes available, something that may have helped lure Reneau to Gainesville.
There is also definite potential of Reneau playing some small ball center, as he does have the defensive intelligence and size. However, he very well could be best used at the four.
Ultimately the Gators landed Reneau over Memphis, Miami, and Florida State. However, Arkansas, Indiana, LSU, and Virginia all pursued him, so Florida did well to out-recruit a lot of the big boys. It was considered to be down to Florida and Florida State, and if you have followed Florida recruiting recently you know that the Gators haven’t exactly done well recruiting against the Seminoles. Beating them out for a key player is hopefully a very positive sign of things to come.
This commitment is also exciting because it’s the first player that new assistant coach Erik Pastrana has landed for the Gators. He came to Gainesville as a very highly respected recruiter, and it looks like he has already proved his worth in that capacity. Pastrana is extremely likeable and works tirelessly and Reneau certainly won’t be the last elite prospect he brings to Gainesville.
Florida has shown recently that they aren’t looking to fill their classes with high school players as they want to keep transfer options open for proven players. For them to take a high school recruit it has to be a player they are extremely high on, and Malik Reneau is that player.