Do NOT Snooze on the Crispy Combo of Cream and Crimson Cookers: Mgbako and Reneau

Malik Reneau, Indiana Men's Basketball
Malik Reneau, Indiana Men's Basketball / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages

There have been a lot of new names buzzing into Bloomington lately, but do not forget that Indiana's 2 most important players looking ahead to the 2024-2025 NCAA season are familiar faces Malik Reneau and Mackenzie Mgbako.

Reneau is fresh off a major sophomore leap year in which his numbers (15.4 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 2.7 APG on shooting splits of 55.8% FG/33.3% 3/68.3% FT) earned him All-Big Ten honorable mention acknowledgment. After his numbers soared in his second stint and he showcased a clear desire to improve his body, Malik Reneau could be in store for an absolutely dominant junior year under Mike Woodson's guidance.

And then there is the reigning Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Year Mgbako, who overcame an ugly start to his collegiate career (5 PPG on icy shooting splits of 32% FG/7.7% 3/100% FT in his first 5 regular season games) to display the type of skillset that made him such a highly touted McDonald's All-American a year ago. If he can replicate the type of sophomore leap that Reneau did then this could be a team with 2 plausible way-too-early 2024-2025 Big-Ten Player of the Year candidates.

Mackenzie Mgbako
Mackenzie Mgbako, Indiana Men's Basketball / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages

Much has been made of the magnificent roster overhaul composed by Woody and his staff, and deservedly so. This is a down right dangerous roster filled with guys who should all serve as serviceable replacements and/or upgrades from last season's team.

With all due respect to our guy X, Myles Rice should offer more poise from the point guard spot than Xavier Johnson did. Kanaan Carlyle should offer more pop from the perimeter than CJ Gunn did. Luke Goode should be a much better fit off the pine than Kaleb Banks was. Oumar Ballo may not have as much overall potential as Kel'el Ware, but his presence down low is guaranteed to be felt.

This is a deeply talented squad with all 11 active players worthy of minutes. Who wins the wars for the most role playing minutes (shooting, defense, rebounding, etc.) remains a mystery, but one thing that is certain is the fact that the NCAA needs to keep an eye on the crispy combination of cream and crimson cookers Mackenzie Mgbako and Malik Reneau.