Growing up in basketball-crazy Indiana, KOCO-5 sports reporter Kelly Crull played and followed the sport as a youngster. Now she will get to cover it on its highest level, the NBA, after being hired as the Oklahoma City Thunder’s sideline reporter. The team will announce her hiring Monday.
Her departure will further deplete the KOCO sports department, which lost sports director Mark Rodgers in late May. Daniel Holdge is the only remaining on-air talent on the staff. Growing up in Noblesville, just north of Indianapolis, Crull remembers sleeping with her basketball like NBA star Pete Maravich did, during her preteen years. “My mom wasn’t very happy because she had to clean those sheets,” said Crull, who went on to become a starting point guard at Noblesville High School. “I played basketball on pavement, so of course, it got my sheets all black. My mom ended what I thought was a very good tradition. I thought that’s what you had to do — sleep with my basketball, become Pistol Pete and I would be the best shooter around.” As Indiana Pacers season ticket holders for several seasons, she said she and her father enjoyed following the exploits of Reggie Miller, Mark Jackson and company. Crull also excelled at tennis and attended the University of Missouri on a tennis scholarship. In 2006, she graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism, which included work at NBC affiliate KOMU. She also interned for ESPN, the CBS News Bureau in London and WTHR-TV in Indianapolis. After beginning her professional career at WLFI-TV in West Lafayette, Ind., she joined KOCO in August 2008. Crull replaces Elissa Walker-Campbell and Tom Werme who split the sideline duties last season. Crull’s two-year contract with KOCO prevented her from getting a shot at the role last year.