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 JewishBoston.com 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.