There are not many Jewish individuals in the college basketball ranks, either as a player or a coach. Among this select group of people, one of the names that automatically stands out is the name of Yanni Hufnagel. Yanni Hufnagel is different than most college basketball coaches. Most college coaches were former basketball players themselves, rather that mean they played in the NBA or just the college ranks. Yanni, on the other hand, spent his time playing lacrosse, both in high school and college. Yanni attempted to play basketball, but he was cut from the team. He did not let that stop him and his love for the game of basketball. He began to work as a color commentator for high school games in his town’s local TV station. From this position, he impressed many with his exemplary basketball knowledge.
In a world where making good impressions and networking is key, Yanni Hufnagel excelled in this as well. After college, Yanni took an unpaid intern position with the New Jersey Nets. After this position, he was heavily recommended for his next job as a graduate assistant at the University of Oklahoma. At the University of Oklahoma, Yanni was credited with helping to develop NBA superstar Blake Griffin. After this position, Yanni Hufnagel has yet to look back in his career.
According to sportsgossip.com, at the conclusion of his master’s program, Yanni was again recommended to a new position, this time as an Assistant Coach at Harvard University. It was at this position that he found his true niche in being a basketball coach, recruiting. Recruiting can be one of the key responsibilities in being an assistant basketball coach. In this role, Yanni Hufnagel excels like few others. At Harvard, he was credited with recruiting and developing NBA phenom Jeremy Lin. At Harvard, he helped a team that cannot even offer full athletic scholarship to a record of 90-30 over the course of four seasons. From this position, Yanni Hufnagel has moved on to accept positions at Vanderbilt, California-Berkley, and the University of Nevada. He has continued to empress with his recruiting prowess at each stop, helping to bring in players such as Jaylen Brown, Wade Baldwin IV, Matthew Fisher-Davis, and Ivan Rabb.
As Yanni Hufnagel continues to empress head coaches around the league, it may only be a matter of time until he takes his own head coaching position.