Category: Basketball

Yanni Huffnagel’s Career

Yanni Hufnagel was born on August 26, 1982, to Joni and Thierry Hufnagel in Scarsdale, New York. He grew up in Scarsdale and played lacrosse throughout his high school years alongside his younger brother who also served as the team captain. He also expressed his interest in varsity basketball but, alas, did not make the team when he tried out. He would, however, end up becoming a commentator for their games and eventually matriculated at Penn State University. Whilst in college, he served as a defenseman for their lacrosse team before transferring to Cornell where he graduated with a Bachelor’s in Industrial and Labor Relations. After graduation, he completed an internship with the New Jersey Nets before enrolling in school at the University of Oklahoma.

Whilst there, he served as an assistant coach for their men’s basketball team where he worked with such up-and-coming young stars as Blake Griffin. He went on to graduate in 2010 with a degree in adult and higher education. He later joined the Harvard basketball team as an assistant coach where he worked for over four years. He later was appointed as a coach for Team USA at the Maccabiah games before taking a coaching position at the University of Vanderbilt. He left the program after one season to take a job with the University of California Berkley and this is where his career began to take a downturn. In 2015, a female reporter provided allegations of sexual misconduct.

Of course, he vehemently denied these claims but he nevertheless resigned his position less than a year later due to his claims that this slander has damaged his reputation. He did later accept a position as an assistant coach at the University of Nevada Reno. The president of the university was wholeheartedly supportive of him joining their team despite the recent allegations against him. He even argued that all the evidence pointed to him being not guilty of this heinous crime in spite of what the reporter had to say. He nevertheless left this position after just one season and hasn’t worked in coaching since then.


Meet Yanni Hufnagel – The Energizer Bunny of DI Recruiting

Yanni Hufnagel worked for many years as a Division I Men’s Basketball Coach. His peers regarded him as one who was most likely to succeed due to his high level of energy. In 2012-2013, CBS Sports included him on their “dream team” of assistant coaches due to his relentless recruiting style.


In May of 2013, when asked him about his career and how he maintained his passion, he had already worked as an assistant coach for four years at Harvard University and was part of the staff when they won their first NCAA tournament game. When he received a similar position with Vanderbilt, he stated that the career move was difficult to pass up. That was because Vanderbilt was also an elite academic institution that had assembled the staff and athletes to be successful. The beautiful campus and weather and the SEC conference were additional attractions. But for all the positives, he did admit that leaving Harvard and all of the players he had recruited was very difficult.


Coach Hufnagel believed that there were no secret formulas for recruiting. He did, however, provide an inside look into his unique style. He focuses on what the player is like as a person and how they describe their priorities. He tries to gauge their level of competitive fire, if they are willing to work to improve their game, and if they are someone with whom you might want to socialize. Finally, he shows his passion for the game and hopes that it is contagious.


He commented that as the game progresses and more college players move to the NBA, statistics and quantitative measurements will become more important. But, in terms of scouting and recruiting players of equal talent, it becomes a very subjective process. When he was asked about his own basketball talent, he said that he had a great shot as long as his feet were set and no one was guarding him so he would rather have one of his recruits be the star.