Catching up on former Husky Travis Knight
Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 22:03
Over The University of Connecticut’s storied history in college basketball, there have been a plethora of talented big men to come through Storrs. While not every one of them ended up like an Emeka Okafor or Hasheem Thabeet over their stints with the Huskies, a good number of them still enjoyed some success, like Travis Knight.
Knight was born in Salt Lake City, Utah but grew up near Los Angeles, Calif. He was a towering figure among his peers as a youth, because he was nearly seven feet tall. Knight picked up the sport of basketball because of his older brother and decided to get serious with it once he entered high school.
In 1992, Knight and his family moved back to Utah and resided in Sandy during his senior year of high school. There, Knight helped Alta High School win the state championship as letters of intent started to fly in to him.
Arizona State University, University of California at Los Angeles and UConn were the final options for Knight as he decided to start paying official visits to the schools. Upon meeting Jim Calhoun, Knight decided to don the navy blue and white.
As a Husky over the next four years, Knight got the chance to play alongside several UConn legends like Ricky Moore, Donny Marshall, his roommate Ray Allen and the current head coach Kevin Ollie. While Knight was never much of a scorer, his size allowed him to have a forceful presence on the defensive side. He played a major role in helping the Huskies capture both the 1996 Big East regular season and tournament championships in his last season, and was named a member on the Big East All-Tournament team.
Knight finished his career at UConn with 179 blocked shots and 747 rebounds, good for third and 14th place respectively, on the all-time list in school history.
Subsequently, Knight was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 29th pick in the first round in the 1996 NBA Draft. However, the Bulls wanted to ship him to Europe to hone his skills before letting him to contribute for them in the NBA. Knight had no intentions of going to Europe, and was released by the team two weeks after.
Knight proceeded to sign a contract with the Los Angeles Lakers and ended up averaging 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds over 16.3 minutes per game during the 1996-1997 season. He was also selected as a member of the All-NBA Rookie Second Team that year alongside his teammate, Kobe Bryant.
Despite that, the Lakers did not renew Knight’s contract after the season and he became a free agent before signing a $22 million deal over seven years to play for Rick Pitino, who was the general manager and coach of the Boston Celtics at the time.
His stint did not last long in Boston either as he was traded back to the Lakers following the 1997-1998 season to serve as the backup to Shaquille O’Neal. Knight was able to tag along on the ride O’Neal and Bryant started for the Lakers by winning the first of three consecutive championships in 2000.
Before he could taste the successes of the latter two titles, however, Knight was involved in a four-team trade that sent him to the New York Knicks, where he would finish out his career three years later. He averaged 3.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game over his seven-year span in the league.
Since then, Knight has started his own fishing business in Nicaragua and is a frequent attendee at current UConn fundraising events.