Yanni Hufnagel’s Rise to the Top

Yanni Hufnagel was destined to be a coach. As a small child, Yanni Hufnagel would simulate basketball plays with toy figurines and read every book about coaching he could get his hands on. As soon as he could, he began working for his local TV station commentating on games for local teams.

Yanni Hufnagel continued the path he began as a child. He was basketball manager at Cornell University his freshman year. He was even able to intern for the New Jersey Nets for a summer. That internship helped him land a job after graduation in Oklahoma as a graduate assistant coach for Jeff Capel. From 2007-2009, Hufnagel conducted individual workouts, assisted with coaching during practice and organized all the on-campus recruitment visits for the Oklahoma Sooners. There he helped develop Blake Griffin, the first selection in the 2009 NBA draft. While at Oklahoma, the Sooners won 53 games and advanced to the Elite Eight in the the NCAA basketball tournament in 2009. Also in 2009, Yanni was introduced to the head coach of Harvard and was soon hired as a volunteer assistant coach. It was an unpaid position. Nevertheless, he went on the road recruiting as soon as he gained the position. Hufnagel served as assistant coach at Harvard for four seasons, each year the team made it to the postseason. Hufnagel contributed to Harvard’s three consecutive Ivy League titles and their first NCAA appearance since 1946 in 2012.

Yanni Hufnagel made a name for himself as one of the nation’s best young recruiter starting at Harvard, Vanderbilt, and California. At California, he assisted in recruiting two five-star prospects, Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb. Jaylen Brown, along with Tyrone Wallace were two top backcourt players in the PAC12. Brown and Wallace both worked with Hufnagel during his time at Berkley. Shortly after in 2016, he was offered a job in Nevada and he accepted where he has been continuing his legacy ever since.

Leave a Reply