Here is the news that no Xavier fan wanted to see:
Xavier big man Zach Freemantle, who missed the last 15 games last season due to foot injury, is likely to be out until at last January and could miss the entire season, source told @TheMessenger.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) September 9, 2023
Freemantle’s foot hasn’t progressed since the surgery and is likely to have…
From a production perspective this is very bad news for a Xavier team that lost all 4 players who attempted 100 threes last season and had hoped Freemantle’s .350 career mark from deep could help bolster a rotation flush with new faces and give the offense a tried and true focal point. After a Junior season marred by injury and sporadic ineffectiveness, Freemantle was a man on a mission last season, leading the team in EFG% and True Shooting% while deploying his versatile offensive skillset with ruthless efficiency and showing a higher level of commitment at the defensive end, especially on the glass where he paced the team with a 25.3 defensive rebounding rate. To lose a player of his talents and track record is going to be tough for a Xavier team that already lost 4 starters from a season ago and still faces uncertainty about Jerome Hunter’s availability as well.
From the perspective of being a fan of the team, and by extension the young men who represent it, the natural response is to feel bad for Zach. His first two seasons he was spectacular for long stretches and, while there could be some frustration with his shot selection at times, was a player who was among if not the stand out Musketeer from a couple of teams that peaked high but ultimately were unable to make it to the NCAA Tournament. His demotion to the bench during the NIT run in 2022 could have seen his production and his Xavier career peter out in quiet fashion, but he eviscerated St. Bonaventure to the tune of 18/6/1 on 8-10 from the floor in the semi final before pairing with Jack Nunge to assert Xavier’s force on the glass just enough to see off Texas A&M in the final. Last season he won his 4th straight Crosstown Shootout and celebrated the turn of the year with a combined 50/22/9 against eventual National Champion Connecticut at home and Villanova at Finneran Pavilion. Freemantle’s season ended after a January 28th loss at Creighton and his bid to be available for the Big East Tournament fell short. Freemantle has accomplished a lot at Xavier- he was selected to the Big East All-Freshman team, made it to Second Team All-Big East as a Sophomore, is a member of the 1000 point club at X, and became the fourth player in Xavier history to record a triple-double. He may not have envisioned any of that when he committed, but he surely hoped to play in an NCAA Tournament game before he departed. On a personal level, I hope Zach is able to make it back in time to live that dream.