Yanni Hufnagel has made a stunning career as an assistant men’s basketball coach in several universities. The secret of his success lies in listening to and understanding potential recruits, then get them to see the positives behind joining his squad.
Harvard University, where Yanni Hufnagel started his assistant coaching career, might be better known for churning out lawyers and businessmen than basketball players. He was credited for developing two star players, Jeremy Lin and Wesley Saunders, and in the four years that he was at the school, the Crimson saw some of their best years ever and were 90-30 in the win/loss column.
Yanni Hufnagel then went on to become the assistant coach at Vanderbilt, under Kevin Stallings. There, the two coaches worked together and developed the 29th best 2014 recruiting class. After one season, he switched to UC-Berkeley. At Berkeley, Hufnagel was instrumental in recruiting the two players who would become the stars of the 2016 NCAA Tournament Berth team, Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb. Finally, he spent a season as a member of the Nevada Wolfpack.
His role as a talented Jewish basketball coach did not go unnoticed in the broader American Jewish community. In July 2013, Yanni Hufnagel became the coach of Team USA at the 19th Maccabiah Games in Israel and led the team of young Jewish basketball stars to a Gold. Even there, his ability to find and hone young talent was apparent. One of his players, Spencer Weisz was named MVP and later played for Princeton and became the 2017 Ivy League Basketball Player of the Year.
His skills as an assistant basketball coach and recruiter have brought Hufnagel a great deal of success over his career. He is known for his talent at public speaking and the high energy style of coaching that young players love.