On a day when the Cats won a rare weekday afternoon home basketball game, the biggest news to UK fans may have come off the court. Jeff Drummond, one of the longest running names in the UK internet world is leaving The Cats Pause after a long time with the site and paper. The internet is becoming (and some might argue, has become) the dominant form of UK sports news and it is without question that Jeff Drummond is one of the main 2 or 3 figures behind that revolution. If you were to go back to the early days of UK sports coverage on the internet, there were only a couple of sites, Wildcat Faithful and Cats Pause being the two most popular. During those days, there really was only one reporter who understood the power of the internet and its favorite news topic (recruiting) and that was Jeff Drummond. He was the main force behind The Cats Pause’s online presence and was THE person who covered the UK land for those early on the internet. His presence and talent cannot be underestimated. Without Drummond, the Cats Pause’s rise in the mid 2000s doesnt happen. And without that initial splash of interest, the Kentucky Sports Radio of current day likely doesnt exist either.
On a personal note, Drummond is as nice a person as you will ever meet. In the UK media world, everyone has positive things to say about Jeff and I am no different. He was nice to me from Day One and has been a constant positive presence for me at UK games for the last three years. Even when tensions built between his website and ours, those tensions were never personal between he and I, and that is something I have always appreciate. Jeff is the biggest Steelers fan you will ever meet, knows more about football recruiting (along with Rob Gidel) as anyone around and has a wry sense of humor that has gotten me a number of times. It isnt clear what his next endeavor will be, but I most certainly wish him the best. He deserves it.
As far as The Cats Pause, I wont write their obituary yet…I will save that for another post. But the loss of Drummond is huge. It is clear that with the rise of other competitors in the pay site market (like Kentucky Sports Report, Kentucky Ink and True Blue Kentucky), the increased web presence of mainstream media sites (like the Herald, Courier, WLEX and Clay’s blog) and the dramatic growth of free sites such as this one, the days of The Cats Pause being the dominant presence are going away. For a long time, what The Cats Pause did was not being done anywhere on the internet. Thanks to aggressive, passionate fans and the spreading out of the free marketplace, now what TCP used to do alone is done everywhere and in many places much better. The one exception was always Drummond. Now that exception is gone as well. Its a big blow for TCP and if there are those that have still believed (against all proof) that it is the king of the UK internet world, well I would suggest Drummond’s departure ends the discussion.
Some other notes….
(1): It was clear after the game tonight that Calipari was relieved just to have it over with. He said he expected the game to be sluggish and he just wanted to get a victory and move on, understanding that the larger battles lie ahead. One can analyze the way UK played but it is ultimately irrelevant. This game was almost predetermined to be sloppy and strange and it played out just the way most thought. The Cats will play Hartford on December 29th but they are horrendous. That means the focus now has to be on Louisville on January 2nd. The Cards are pointing to this game with all they have and they are playing slightly better. Calipari knows (whether he says it or not), that this game is HUGE to the UK fanbase. He knows that a win could set up a dream season for most UK fans and it needs to happen. That will be the basis for these three-a-day practices that are coming after Christmas.
(2): The players were also in the mood to get out of town as quickly as possible, which is of course understandable. Many of the players who live within driving distance, including Miller, Patterson, Harrellson and Krebs, were off quickly to go to their various hometowns. The team is off until the 26th, but then dont have to deal with the practice rules until school starts back on January 4th.
(3): The football team made its way to Nashville to get ready for Music City Bowl preparations. The big news out of the day is the likelihood that we see some of the young running backs in UK’s stable during the game. You may remember at the Music City Bowl a few years back against Clemson, a young man named Stevie Johnson “got loose” a few times and made a splash on the scene that then developed the next year. A lot of the UK staff is hoping for the same thing from some of the young running backs this year, including Donald Russell, who could use this game to arrive on the scene. With the graduation of Alfonso Smith and the potential departure of Derrick Locke, the Running Back position is wide open. The Music City Bowl could be the game where someone takes a step towards leading that battle.
— If you havent seen it yet, on Coachcal.com I have a Behind the Scenes feature of a TOUR OF THE UK BASKETBALL OFFICE. It is a two-part feature and today’s first part is free to all registered members of the site. Next week, they will show my tour of Calipari’s personal office, which will be only for subscribers, but for now check out the tour. You will be amazed at the offices of some of the guys and what it looks like in the Craft Center for the coaches.
Finally, if you havent gotten a chance yet and would like a copy of the 2000th win shirt from Fan Outfitters, click on the link below and place an order. In the coming weeks, we will have more UK gear on the site and every purchase you make through here helps the site maintain its razor-like efficiency.
HAVE A GREAT CHRISTMAS and stay tuned over the next two days for Christmas cheer from the KSR Gang.