First, the news:
Source: Xavier's Zach Freemantle is out indefinitely due to a left foot injury. Hopes to return by Big East play in December. Averaged 16.1 PPG and 8.9 RPG last season. Significant Big East news.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 29, 2021
As someone had the courtesy to point out to Rothstein, this is information that anyone who pays any attention to the program anticipated coming out. Freemantle had sat out the public preseason events this year and the timetable for his return was always super vague. It didn't take a master's in reading between the lines to figure bad news was on the way. Any injury of a weight-bearing portion of the body is going to be treated with caution; hopefully banking on a return for conference play isn't too optimistic.
There's no way around the fact that losing Freemantle will be a significant blow to Xavier's attempts to land resume wins in the non-conference. He'll be out for OSU's visit to Cintas, the Muskies' trip to Oklahoma State, and whatever top-50 team X draws at the NIT, neatly hamstringing Xavier's efforts to land quad 1 wins before the Big East season kicks off.
If there is a silver lining, it's that Xavier has potential depth in the frontcourt. Jack Nunge was brought in to play alongside Freemantle, but he may end up being the focal point inside early on. Dieonte Miles has looked exceptional in the preseason as a true post with good secondary skills. Jerome Hunter and Ben Stanley each have the skill set to show something different at the four, and Cesare Edwards may get more action early on than initially anticipated.
People have been clamoring for Travis Steele to show his value as the head coach. Losing his leading scorer and rebounder from last season surely gives him the chance to do just that.