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Indiana Basketball Returner Focus: Sophomore Forward Malik Reneau



Indiana's Malik Reneau (5) celebrates during the Indiana versus Morehead State men's basketball game at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Monday, Nov. 7, 2022.

The Indiana basketball program is going to look a whole lot different with many new faces coming in this season plus the new versatile style of play that is expected to take place.

While there are many new faces to the program, the Hoosiers will return six players with the experience to help lead the new group.

Earlier this offseason, we took a look at all the new players in our Indiana basketball Newcomer Focus series. Now, we will focus on the guys that will return for Mike Woodson and Indiana this upcoming season.

For today, we take a look at sophomore forward Malik Reneau and look back at last year plus his role for the 2023-2024 Indiana basketball season.

Other Players in this series: Xavier Johnson, Trey Galloway, Anthony Leal

Last Season Reflection

Malik Reneau came into last season as the second player in back-to-back offseasons to commit to Indiana under Mike Woodson in the spring after decommiting from a previous school.

Due to a coaching change, Reneau decommited from Florida and reopened his recruitment which then allowed Mike Woodson the opportunity to bring him to Indiana. Reneau would come on a visit to Indiana after helping lead Montverde Academy, alongside former Indiana guard Jalen Hood-Schifino, to the 2022 GEICO High School National championship.

While on his official visit in Bloomington, Reneau would commit to Indiana. This commitment was one of the biggest in the Mike Woodson era because at the time, it was uncertain if Trayce Jackson-Davis would be returning to the Hoosiers for his senior season.

When it was announced that Jackson-Davis would be returning to the Hoosiers last year, the idea of a front court rotation that featured him, Reneau, and Race Thompson was an exciting one.

For the majority of this past season, Reneau was often the first big off the bench for Indiana subbing in for either Thompson or Jackson-Davis. He would appear in all 35 of Indiana’s game last year which included three total starts.

Reneau averaged 6.1 points and 3.7 rebounds and 14.9 minutes played per game. He also shot 55.3 percent (89-of-161) from the field.

Four of his first five career games resulted in double-digit points, however once he got into Big Ten play, his production was inconsistent. He would have just three double-digit outings his remaining 30 games and had eight games with two points or less.

The transition to the college level from the high school level was a learning curve for Reneau. The potential was shown all season long but there were obvious areas that Reneau really struggled in.

Arguably, the biggest struggle for Reneua last season was foul trouble. In the 35 games he appeared in, he averaged 2.5 fouls per game. He led the entire Indiana basketball team in personal fouls last season.

Last year, many saw just a sample size of what the Miami (Fla) native could do. Reneau stuck to more of what Jackson-Davis was doing on the floor.

When on the floor last year, Reneau often played the role that either Jackson-Davis as well as Thompson was assigned. What was great about Reneua’s skillset was that he was versatile enough to be placed in almost any role he was assigned.

While he was not able to show off his full skillset for what he was recruited for, Reneau did a overall good job of filling any role he was asked to do last year. The defensive inconsistency was a struggle, but the long-term offensive potential was very high.

More: Player Q&A: IU basketball forward Malik Reneau discusses offseason development

Role for 2023-24 Season

Coming back for his second season in Bloomington, Reneau returns as the most experienced front court player for this Indiana basketball roster. While bigs such as Anthony Walker and Payton Sparks may have been in college longer, Reneua is the only front court player that knows what to expect when it comes to Mike Woodson’s system.

Reneau’s role for Indiana this season is going to look much more increased. He, alongside Kel’el Ware and the other Indiana front court pieces, are going to have help fill the void that is left with the departures of Trayce Jackson-Davis and Race Thompson.

The sophomore will be looking to show more of his all-around game this upcoming season.

While last season Reneau played more of the role that Jackson-Davis was playing, this season, fans should see his versatility on the offensive end a lot more. He’ll be looking to stretch the floor, push the ball in transition and much more that modern day power forward does in today’s game.

Reneau has been working extremely hard on his overall game this offseason.

“Having individual workouts every day with my trainer and just working on the things that we need to work on like rim-running, posting up hard, catch-and-shoot threes, trail-threes, pull-up stuff like that,” said Reneau earlier this summer. “Just trying to mix up all types of games and work on my strong suit, posting up, working on my hooks too. Just working on everything every time I step on the court.”

For Reneau to take that next step for Indiana this season, he will need to show more consistency on the defensive end. Reneau has a chance to be Indiana’s best front court piece next season and foul trouble from Reneau could be really troublesome for the Hoosiers.

What made Jackson-Davis such an elite big was that he was extremely disciplined and versatile on the defensive end and was able to defend without fouling. If Reneau to going to fill any part of that void, he will need to improve in that area.

“Some of the things I need to improve on is being able to defend on the perimeter, which I have been in the gym working on my defensive side, really guarding the smaller guys when I switch onto them,” Reneau said. “Trying to defend and stay away from putting my hands on the defenders and picking up those ticky-tack fouls. Just being aware of what I am doing on the court and understanding that I can get those ticky-tack fouls when I put two hands on a defender.”

You should also see a lot of pick-and-roll action from Xavier Johnson and Reneau this upcoming season. The pick-and-roll game that Johnson and Jackson-Davis did over the past few years was extremely affective for the Hoosiers and with Reneau’s talent and skillset, he should be able succeed in that role just as well.

To sum it all up here, Reneau is one of the key pieces for Indiana basketball next season. Reneau has a lot of weight on his shoulders to lead the front court of Indiana and if he can develop into that leader while also bringing his game to that next level, he could be a big factor into the success rate of the Hoosiers next season.

Notable Quotes

“Being able to do everything on the court and this year I think I’ll be able to do that and show a lot more of my game,” Reneau said during media availability earlier this summer. “Being able to step out and shoot the three ball, grab it off the rebound and push it. Just doing all the stuff that I am used to doing and just making it where I’m not making a lot of mistakes when I am doing it. Pushing the ball in transition, posting up, shooting threes, you know all that stuff. I just want to be able to show my all-around game.”

“Being a leader on the team since we are bringing in so many people. Helping out the other players with the defense… like X (Xavier Johnson) or Gallo (Trey Galloway),” Reneau said. “Being one of those guys cause I understand the defensive side and know what coach Woodson wants us to do. Being a guy they can look to to help them out when there’s a defensive breakdown and need help to understand something.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Our team is going to be a defensive team no matter what’: Malik Reneau looks to build on Mike Woodson’s defensive philosophy in year two with Indiana basketball

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics.


‘The word is out; they knocked you’: Mike Woodson, Kel’el Ware to use ‘lazy’ reputation as fuel



Kel'el Ware, Indiana basketball
Kel'el Ware came to Indiana with the reputation as being 'lazy'. Now, he and Mike Woodson are using that as fuel this season. (Bobby Goddin/Herald-Times-USA TODAY NETWORK)

One thing that has come out of the Mike Woodson era at Indiana basketball? He isn’t going to sugarcoat anything. Whether it’s his performance, from his players or any of the media, he’s going to make sure everyone knows what he’s thinking.

He made it clear after Indiana lost to Miami in the Round of 32 last season that the personnel needed to get better. Once the transfer portal opened up — officially — he hit a potential home run with former five-star center Kel’el Ware. Ware, a transfer from Oregon, came into his freshman season as a projected lottery pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. That didn’t pan out for numerous reasons, but, one in particular.

His motor.

Whether it was from the Oregon staff or not, the reputation that Ware entered the portal with was one of ‘laziness’. By the time he committed to Indiana, everyone knew it. Including Mike Woodson.

“Well, when I recruited that young man I told him, you cannot go back and get what happened the year before. You can’t,” Woodson said at Indiana basketball media day on Wednesday. “The word is out; they knocked you and said, hey, you’re lazy, you don’t work hard, and if you make a commitment to me, that’s got to change.”

But, what Woodson has shown in his short time at Indiana, he’ll emphasize your weaknesses and turn them into strengths. That was exactly how he portrayed it to Ware.

“I’m not always the easiest coach to play for, but I’m in your corner and I’m fair and I want what’s best for you and my ballclub,” Woodson said. “He made the commitment to me, and I’m going to push him to play at a higher level to help us win basketball games.”

Kel’el Ware averaged just 6.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game a year ago. But, that’s not to say Ware didn’t have very good performances. In fact, he did. Ware had 18 points on 6-of-8 from the floor and nine rebounds against eventual National Champion UConn in November. He also had 17 points and nine rebounds against Michigan State the following game.

In a five-game stretch against UConn, Michigan State, Villanova, Washington State and UCLA, Ware averaged 12.6 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting 61.8 percent on 2s and 50 percent from the field overall.

“He’s a very versatile big,” Indiana basketball point guard Xavier Johnson said. “He can shoot threes and he can pick-and-pop, pick-and-roll, so that’s big time in the pick-and-roll game with me. Trayce couldn’t pop as much, but Trayce was leading throughout the rim. I don’t think nobody could stop him. But Coach Woodson is going to get him on the same track as far as pick-and-roll game.”

So, as Ware settles into his role throughout his first season with the Indiana basketball program, one thing is for certain. He’s out to not only prove the doubters wrong … he’s out to prove himself right.

“Just to prove everyone was wrong. Show everyone I have a motor and keep it going on the court,” Ware said on Wednesday. “People say I’m lazy, just wanna show them I’m not lazy.

“Their (Indiana basketball) win now mentality is coming on to me now. I’m getting used to everything and enjoying it … I can give more.”

SEE ALSO: While motor is in question, skill is not. How Mike Woodson can unlock potential of Kel’el Ware for Indiana basketball

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN, Facebook and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. You can also listen to the Talking’ Bout the Hoosiers podcast on Spotify.

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Big Ten announces Indiana women’s basketball 2023-24 schedule



Teri Moren, Indiana women's basketball

The Big Ten officially announced the 2023-24 schedule for the Indiana women’s basketball program on Thursday afternoon.

Below is the full release from the program and the official schedule for the upcoming season.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana women’s basketball has announced the 2023-24 regular season schedule, including Big Ten matchups, on Thursday afternoon.

The season begins on Nov. 9 against Eastern Illinois at home inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. IU’s non-conference schedule features a pair of potential Top 25 matchups when it faces Stanford in Palo Alto (Nov. 12) and against Tennessee in the Fort Myers tipoff on Thanksgiving night in a nationally televised game on FOX at 6 p.m. ET.

Murray State (Nov. 17) and Lipscomb (Nov. 19) also visit the Hall in non-conference action as the Hoosiers will also travel to a neutral site game in Portland, Maine against Maine at Cross Insurance Arena.

IU will kick off Big Ten play on Dec. 9th when it travels to Rutgers. It will wrap up non-conference play against Evansville and Bowling Green State University before jumping back into league play on New Year’s Eve at home against Illinois. They wrap up a four-game homestand on January 4th by hosting Michigan.

The next six matchups alternate between home and away as it visits Nebraska (Jan. 7), returns home for Penn State (Jan. 10) and heads to Iowa (Jan. 13). Minnesota comes to Bloomington (Jan. 17) while the Barn Burner Trophy is up for grabs at Purdue (Jan. 21) in the first of two meetings between in-state rivals.

They then play their first of two meetings against Northwestern (Jan. 28) and at Maryland (Jan. 31). February begins at Ohio State (Feb. 4) before a two-game homestand against Michigan State (Feb. 8) and Purdue (Feb. 11) are on the slate. The Hoosiers are back on the road for Valentine’s Day at Wisconsin and at Illinois (Feb. 19).

Wrapping up the regular season, Iowa and Indiana meet for the second time on Feb. 22 in Bloomington before a final regular season road game at Northwestern (Feb. 27). The regular season finale will be at home for Senior Day when the program hosts Maryland (Mar. 3).

The Big Ten Tournament will be held March 6-10, 2024 at Target Center in Minneapolis. Game times and TV designations will be determined later.

2023-24 Indiana Women’s Basketball Schedule

Date Opponent Location
Nov. 1 Northwood (exh.) Bloomington, Ind.
Nov. 9 EIU Bloomington, Ind.
Nov. 12 at Stanford Palo Alto, Calif.
Nov. 17 Murray State Bloomington, Ind.
Nov. 19 Lipscomb Bloomington, Ind.
Nov. 23 Tennessee^ Fort Myers, Fla.
Nov. 25 Princeton^ Fort Myers, Fla.
Nov. 30 Maine# Portland, Me.
Dec. 9 at Rutgers* Piscataway, N.J.
Dec. 18 Evansville Bloomington, Ind.
Dec. 22 BGSU Bloomington, Ind.
Dec. 31 Illinois* Bloomington, Ind.
Jan. 4 Michigan* Bloomington, Ind.
Jan. 7 at Nebraska* Lincoln, Neb.
Jan. 10 Penn State* Bloomington, Ind.
Jan. 13 at Iowa* Iowa City, Iowa
Jan. 17 Minnesota* Bloomington, Ind.
Jan. 21 at Purdue* West Lafayette, Ind.
Jan. 28 Northwestern* Bloomington, Ind.
Jan. 31 at Maryland* College Park, Md.
Feb. 4 at Ohio State* Columbus, Ohio
Feb. 8 Michigan State* Bloomington, Ind.
Feb. 11 Purdue* Bloomington, Ind.
Feb. 14 at Wisconsin* Madison, Wis.
Feb. 19 at Illinois* Champaign, Ill.
Feb. 22 Iowa* Bloomington, Ind.
Feb. 27 at Northwestern* Evanston, Ill.
Mar. 3 Maryland* Bloomington, Ind.

*^ – Fort Myers Tipoff
# – neutral site game at Cross Insurance Arena
* – Big Ten matchup

SEE ALSO: Indiana Basketball Notebook: Key quotes, notes and more from media day

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN, Facebook and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. You can also listen to the Talking’ Bout the Hoosiers podcast on Spotify.

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Indiana Basketball: Xavier Johnson named preseason All-Big Ten Second Team by The Almanac



Xavier Johnson, Indiana basketball
Indiana basketball point guard Xavier Johnson was named preseason All-Big Ten Second Team by The Almanac on Wednesday. (Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports)

One of the top college basketball publications have released its preseason awards and honors for the Big Ten and Indiana basketball point guard Xavier Johnson was one of the recipients.

Johnson, a sixth-year point guard, was named to The Almanac preseason All-Big Ten Second Team.  Johnson played and started 11 games for Indiana last season before suffering a broken foot on Dec. 17 that kept him out the remainder of the season. He averaged 9.9 points and 4.9 assists per game last season.

Xavier Johnson has played in 45 games (45 starts) for Indiana. He’s averaged 11.6 points per game and 5.0 assists across two seasons. He’s shot 38 percent from three in 2.7 attempts per game for his IU career.

In 2021-22, Johnson averaged 12.1 points and 5.1 assists per game.

Johnson returned to Indiana last season after a terrific end to his 2021-22 season. Following a four game losing streak and the end of February, Johnson hit his stride in the last month of the year. In the last nine games, he averaged 16.7 points per game and 6.9 assists to just 2.8 turnovers a game. That helped lift IU to a NCAA berth.

“Well, I thought two years ago, make no mistake about it, we got in the tournament because of Xavier Johnson and his play coming down the home stretch,” Mike Woodson said at Indiana basketball media day on Wednesday” Last year was a setback year for him. We didn’t come into last season thinking that we would lose our starting point guard, and that was a blow for us in the stretch where we struggled to win games.”

Heading into this season, Johnson was named captain of the Indiana basketball program — a high honor, but one that comes with his effort and leadership throughout his IU tenure.

“I think he’s hungry. I’m sure it was the first time he’s ever been hurt where he’s missed practically the whole season, so he’s got to be hungry,” Woodson said. “This is his last go-around. He can’t come — hell, how many years is this, six years for him? Hell, he’s an old man. Hell, he can’t come back for seven, so he’s got to give us all he can give us this year to make it right. But I do think he’s hungry, absolutely I do.”

In five seasons between Pitt and Indiana, Johnson has played in 129 games (126 starts).

“This year, X has played more basketball games in college than anybody on our ballclub, so I expect him to lead, be a point guard and be a leader on and off the floor and put us in position to win basketball games,” Woodson added. “That’s what it’s all about.”

The 2023-24 season for the Indiana basketball program gets underway on Nov. 7 against Florida Gulf Coast.

SEE ALSO: ‘I want to win now’: Mike Woodson is done accepting mediocracy. He’s ready to take Indiana basketball to new heights.

Make sure to follow Hoosier Illustrated on Twitter @Indiana_FRN, Facebook and YouTube to stay up to date on all of the news, updates and coverage of Indiana University athletics. You can also listen to the Talking’ Bout the Hoosiers podcast on Spotify.

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