Yanni Hufnagel is a Jewish-American who grew up in Scarsdale, New York. He attended Cornell University and has held positions with colleges as an assistant basketball coach. While there are not a lot if Jewish-American players in the NBA, there are several serving as coaches. In 2011, CBS Sports held a survey of more than 100 coaches, Yanni Hufnagel was voted as the assistant coach from a mid major school who will go far due to his uncanny ability in recruiting.
As a child, Yanni read coaching books frequently and played sports, but was not a stand out athlete. In high school, he commentated games for the local public assess channel, he had an understanding of the sport that most kids his age did not posses. He continued his involvement with basketball from the sidelines in college as a basketball manager and had an internship with the New Jersey Nets. His big break came after graduation when Coach Jeff Capel of the University of Oklahoma offered him an assistant coaching position.
In 2009 he became the assistant coach at Harvard. His main job at Harvard was to recruit talent to the team. He was quite successful at this because he had abilities like a salesmen, and he was not afraid to go after talent that was expected to sign with another university, such as Zena Edosomwan. During his time at Harvard, Yanni helped to develop the talent of Jeremy Lin and Wesley Saunders.
After leaving Harvard, Yanni Hufnagel went on to Vanderbilt as an assistant coach of the Commodores from 2013 through 2014. During the 2014 to 2016 years, he was the assistant coach for the University of California Golden Bears, and is currently the assistant coach for the University of Nevada Wolf Pack. While at Vanderbilt, he recruited 2014’s 29th ranked class including Wade Baldwin IV and Matthew Fisher-Davis. His recruiting talent helped the University of California to an NCAA Tournament berth in 2016.
During the time Yanni Hufnaagel spent at Oklahoma, he earned a master’s degree in Adult and Higher Education with an Emphasis in Intercollegiate Athletics Administration.