Basketball season came to an official beginning today as Xavier had its first practice of the year. Notable through his absent was talented but enigmatic senior forward Zach Freemantle. Information beyond this is extremely sparse, but it's hard to interpret this as a good sign for Xavier or Freemantle.
There were rumblings around the team last spring that Freemantle and head coach Travis Steele had reached the end of their ability to coexist before the season had run down, but ultimately Steele's departure settled that issue. Freemantle had the opportunity to seek minutes elsewhere - doubtless he would have been in high demand - but instead decided to stay put and play under Sean Miller. They staying put part has come to fruition, but the playing will apparently be at least delayed.
Part of what makes Freemantle so effective is that he plays with a barely restrained edge that, at its best, translates into a channeled aggression that has him first to ever 50/50 ball and turning every possession into a test of wills. It has seemed that his is prone from going from on point to on tilt on and seemingly off the court, and that affects his ability to make a positive impact on the game. Coach Miller is clearly trying to rein that in. Time will tell if it works.