Welcome back readers to another edition of Husky History, the column that highlights a former UConn athlete and their accomplishments at the professional level and up to this day.
This week focuses on Travis Knight, the former UConn center who was a first team All-Big East selection during his four-year tenure at the university.
Knight was born on Sept. 13, 1974 in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he attended Alta High School in Sandy, Utah. He played basketball in high school before eventually committing to Jim Calhoun and the Husky program.
Knight began his freshman year at UConn in 1992 where he played in 24 games throughout the season. His role was limited, but he made the most of it as he averaged a solid 2.9 points, 2.5 rebounds, 0.4 steals and one block. This production gave a glimpse as to what he could do with a larger role.
When Knight’s sophomore year came around, he saw an increase in the amount of games he played, going from 24 to 33 between years one and two. The production stayed similar as he put up 2.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists and one block a game.
Knight’s junior season was where he made a huge splash in his role. He played in 33 games, which ranked first among Big East qualifiers, and averaged an impressive 9.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.7 blocks.
Knight helped lead UConn to an Elite Eight appearance in the 1995 Men’s NCAA Tournament before falling to the No. 1 seed in the West region, UCLA. Knight averaged 11.3 points and 8.5 rebounds throughout the rounds.
Back with more experience, Knight replicated his junior season success and then some. The senior averaged 9.1 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and two blocks in 34 games while ranking second in the Big East for blocked shots with a total of 68.
What’s more impressive is the advanced numbers that showcase how essential Knight was to the Huskies success in the 1995-1996 season. Knight ranked first in the Big East in defensive win shares with a rating of 4.4. The statistic shows how the team’s defensive capability was immediately increased once Knight checked into the game.
During that season, Knight grabbed a total of 317 rebounds, which ranked 14th in the NCAA and third overall in the Big East. The defensive-minded, rebound-machine center proved invaluable to Coach Calhoun in 1995-1996.
Knight’s impact was rewarded as he was named to the 1996 All-Big East Tournament First Team. When it was all said and done, Knight averaged 6.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 124 career collegiate games.
Knight didn’t stop after college basketball. With the 29th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, Knight was drafted to the reigning NBA champion Chicago Bulls. Knight’s contract was never honored by the Bulls, so he signed to the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent on July 31, 1996.
He’d spend a season in Los Angeles averaging 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds, earning himself a spot on the NBA All-Rookie Second Team in 1997.
Knight took a few stops throughout the league including the Boston Celtics and New York Knicks. Knight was a member of the 2000 NBA championship winning Los Angeles Lakers and spent seven years as an NBA player before retiring after the 2003 season posting career averages of 3.4 points and 3.1 rebounds.
After his professional career, Knight has been utilizing his bachelor’s degree in business administration and management, as well as giving back to the youth with his time as a basketball coach in the Austin, Texas area since 2014.
Knight has been the owner of Aquaholic Fishing and Surf Charters in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua since 2006. The company offers day excursions off the coast of Nicaragua to adventurous customers. Knight is responsible for local and international business exchanges and the marketing of the company.
In addition to handling the logistics of Aquaholic Fishing and Surf Charters, Knight is also a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain.
Knight is also the owner and principal of Villa Noche in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua. It is a vacation rental that was designed by Knight, who also manages the logistics and marketing of the spot.
Knight’s impact on the court is one for the books, but the international advancements made in his career after basketball show how far the Husky experience can take you.