In a 2011 sports survey CBS of over 100 college basketball coaches, Yanni Hufnagel was voted “the most promising assistant coach from a mid-major school who will make it big time due to his recruiting ability”.
Born August 26, 1982, Yanni Hufnagel didn’t come from the prototypical basketball stomping grounds. As a young high school teen he was known for his acumen playing Lacrosse. In fact, he was actually cut from his high school basketball team as a junior.
Nevertheless Yanni pushed on, and soon landed a color commentating position at a local TV station, where he would analyze games for his high school.
Yanni Hufnagel got his first big break while interning for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets one summer. He soon after became a graduate assistant coach with the Oklahoma Sooners men’s basketball program. During his time there, Yanni worked extensively with a young standout named Blake Griffin. Hufnagel is credited in many basketball circles for Griffin’s development into arguably one of the most dominating college basketball players of all time.
Yanni’s innate coaching and recruiting talents landed him at Harvard in 2009, where he was assistant coach under the young legendary Tommy Amaker. A couple of years later Yanni Hufnagel was recognized among the best and brightest young coaches. Many saw him as the most passionate recruiter in college basketball! So it was no surprise when he helped propel Harvard into the 2013 NCAA Division 1 Men’s Basketball Tourney.
Following the tournament berth, Yanni Hufnagel was selected to coach at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, but he declined. Yanni instead opted to take an assistant coaching job with Vanderbilt, where he helped the Commodores build one of the most talented recruiting classes in the nation. Yanni soon left for California-Berkeley, where he helped recruit future NBA prospects Jaylen Brown and Ivan Robb.
Yanni Hufnagel’s raw passion for coaching and player development is rarely seen. His keen eye for scouting talent is highly respected in the basketball community. And as his track record shows, he’s sure to be a huge asset to any men’s basketball program.