By Kevin McPherson
LITTLE ROCK — Not only did the Arkansas Razorbacks coaching staff win a commitment from 2022 ESPN Top 75 prospect Barry Dunning, Jr., early in the month of July, but they’ve spent the time since then bonding and getting to know Dunning’s talented 17 Nightrydas Elite teammate, 2022 Malik Reneau.
The relationship has escalated to Arkansas offering a scholarship to Reneau (6-8 power forward, Montverde Academy, composite national No. 53 / 4-star prospect), who announced his Hog offer via Twitter on Sunday.
“All the coaches at Arkansas have contacted me, the head coach and staff,” Reneau told Hogville.net. “They offered me (on Sunday), but have been talking to me for about a month getting to know me.
“They just like how I impact the game on both sides of the court … they say they run a five-out offense. They would help me be able to make plays inside and out.”
Reneau didn’t mince words when asked about his thoughts on Head Hog Eric Musselman’s (and his coaching staff’s) vast NBA and professional basketball experience.
“That’s dope knowing that all the coaches have an idea what it takes to make it to the next level,” he said.
Reneau — he had a phenomenal run in Nike EYBL Session 1 before leading the Nightrydas to the Peach Invitational Tournament championship over the weekend — said he’s interested in visiting Arkansas.
“Probably in the fall,” he said of when he’s likely to trek to Fayetteville to check out the Hogs.
Reneau said he’s planning to commit to a school before his senior season at prestigious Montverde Academy in Florida, but does not “have a date yet” for when that decision will be made and announced.
He’s already taken official visits to Miami and Memphis. He holds offers from the Hogs, Hurricanes, and Tigers as well as Florida, Florida State, LSU, Indiana, Virginia, Washington, Marquette, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Central Florida, and Florida International among others.
Reneau is impressed with how the Hog coaching staff embraces their own.
“They all care for their guys,” he said. “Just seeing how they treat Barry, who committed to them early in the month. They check up all the time.”
With Musselman and his staff on hand throughout the first three July live periods watching Dunning play, they got to see firsthand the talent and versatility that Reneau brings to the court.
Dunning spoke highly of Reneau and believes he is considering Arkansas as a destination for his college basketball.
“Yes, he is interested (in the Hogs),” Dunning said. “Malik off the court is a good person to be around, and on the court he is a great leader with a high IQ and is a versatile power forward.”
Reneau was a force on the Nike EYBL circuit, averaging 20.2 points, 8.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.2 steals, and 1.6 blocks while earning 3rd team All Nike EYBL for the circuit’s first session of games spanning the past couple of weeks. He finished with 18 points (8-of-11 field goals and 2-of-2 free throws), 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1 block in 34 minutes while helping 17U Nightrydas to a win over 17U Oakland Soldiers on Sunday in the Peach Invitational Tournament championship game in Augusta, Ga.
“I do a little of everything, inside-out,” Reneau said. “Versatile, can play multiple positions on the court.”
Reneau is a skilled and smooth operator at the power forward spot, but he’s also a fearless slasher who does not hesitate to dunk on defenders when challenged, and he’s a tireless worker on the glass. His ability to put the ball on the floor and create offense for himself or make a smart, timely pass when help defenders come set him apart from many bigs. The high floor IQ that Dunning noted jumps out immediately when you watch Reneau’s game highlights.