Who was the freshman you most expected to have a huge impact this year? Unless you were clairvoyant or having something against the state of Kentucky (which would be fair), it was KyKy Tandy. KyKy, through circumstances mostly outside of his control is far behind and has been limited to showing flashes as he tries to catch up to Big East play. Dah Bishop was highly rated as a freshman, played 10 games, and left. Danny Ramsey also had hype surrounding him and has hit the floor exactly once.
One freshman has been excellent this year, though, and that is Zach Freemantle. Freemantle came out of Teaneck, NJ ranked behind the three other incoming players already mentioned. Freemantle had some game, but it was unclear how quickly he could transfer that to the Big East level. Redshirt talk bounced around early before it became clear that Freemantle would make the roster.
Making the roster is one thing, Dontarius James and Leighton Schrand are on the team and dress for games, making an impact is another. Zach Freemantle has made an immediate and serious impact.
Freemantle has an offensive efficiency of 120.5 in 17 minutes per game. In those 17 he’s averaging 6.8/4.0/0.4 with a block thrown in for good measure. The offensive efficiency is top 100 in the nation and his free throw shooting (80.5%) is also in the top 300. In short, Freemantle is an efficient scorer who verges on the elite in tempo free stats. As a freshman. In the Big East.
It isn’t just scoring the ball where Freemantle excels. His offensive rebounding rate of 11.2% is 150th in the nation and would lead a lot of teams that don’t also have Tyrique Jones on them. Freemantle’s block rate of 4.6% is 190th in the nation. Quite frankly there isn’t much that Zach doesn’t do well beyond perhaps creating buckets for teammates.
Since moving into the starting lineup Freemantle is averaging 11/8/1 and has decided to make himself into a three point threat, making 41.7% of his limited attempts. More importantly, Zach has only committed five fouls in 64 minutes in the last two games. The foul trouble that was limiting him early in the year may not have vanished, but it has clearly been addressed.
This season isn’t going well for Xavier, they sit off the bubble for now and need some real help to get back into tournament consideration. One of their prized freshman class is already gone, one is significantly injured, and one is struggling to catch up after missing the first part of the season. Amongst all that, Zach Freemantle has been a ray of hope. If he keeps progressing as he has, Xavier has a star on their hands.