Everybody loves Yanni Hufnagel
“Everybody loves Yanni Hufnagel.” That’s how Oklahoma Sooner head coach Jeff Capel summed up the rising Jewish basketball star. Yanni Hufnagel served as a graduate assistant at Oklahoma where he helped engineer the recruiting class and helped players sharpen their skills.
Jeff Capel then recommended the young Jewish basketball coach to Harvard University. In 2009, Yanni Hufnagel assumed the role of assistant coach and top recruiter for the Ivy League school. Harvard went 79-24 during his four-year career for the Crimson Tide. America’s oldest college won its first Ivy League championship, and in 2011, the school won a record 26 games while being nationally ranked for the first time ever.
Yanni Hufnagel then took his recruiting talents to Vanderbilt. As the recruiting coordinator of 2014, he was able to land such high-priced names as Wade Baldwin IV and Matthew Fisher-Davis. Each of those players was drafted into the NBA by the Memphis grizzlies and the Golden State Warriors.
He then took his recruiting chops across the country to UC Berkeley. It is in Northern California where Yanni Hufnagel was really able to show off his talents. He put together a nationally recognized recruiting class which included 2016 NBA Draft picks Jaylen Brown and Tyrone Wallace.
The young Jewish coach, only in his early 30s, is now the assistant coach at the University of Nevada, Reno. He has forged quite a resume after being cut from his own varsity basketball team in high school while growing up in Scarsdale, New York. He wanted to stay close to the game so he became the team’s announcer.
He played one year of college the cross before giving it up to intern for the New Jersey Nets. He graduated from Cornell University and instead of taking a desk job, he became a graduate assistant at Oklahoma to pursue a life in basketball.