Basketball Passion Fire Coach Yanni Hufnagel to Top of the Game

Growing up in Scarsdale, New York, Yanni Hufnagel showed every indication that he would be a coach one day. His passion for the game inspired him to go through every basketball coaching book he came across. However, no one foresaw the heights to which the young Jewish boy would rise, years later.


Potential for Greatness


Yanni Hufnagel at first worked as a commentator for local TV station in Scarsdale. His excellence led his colleagues into correctly predicting that his future was in sports announcing or coaching. When he joined Cornell University, he took up the position of basketball manager. He then joined New Jersey Nets as a summer intern.


It was when he attended the University of Oklahoma where he served as an assistant coach that Yanni Hufnagel made it clear that he was headed for greatness. Among other achievements while there, he was influential in developing Blake Griffin’s talent. His growing reputation as one of the most promising basketball coaches helped land him the position of volunteer assistant coach at Harvard.


An Eye for Talent


One of the gifts that have propelled Yanni Hufnagel to the top of the basketball coaching world is his ability to notice talent in players and go for it. In a survey conducted by CBS Sports, his peers agreed that his recruiting ability made him the assistant coach most likely to record unrivaled success. His most magnificent achievements while in Harvard include helping develop Wesley Saunders and Jeremy Lin.




There is no doubt that Yanni Hufnagel is one of the most successful coaches of his time. Few coaches or assistant coaches are capable of leaving such a mark as his in some of the world’s most prestigious institutions. Apart from working as an assistant coach in Cornell University where he graduated with a in Industrial and Labor Relations, and Oklahoma where he obtained his Master’s degree in Adult Higher Education, he has helped rear talent and bring victory to Harvard and Vanderbilt basketball teams. Before joining University of Nevada, he worked as an assistant coach for the University of California where he was celebrated for landing the team to a NCAA Tournament by convincing Ivan Robb and Jaylen Brown to join the Golden Bears.

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