Yanni Hufnagel loves the game of basketball so much that he’s been willing to explore every angle of it. Hufnagel not only loved seeing the sport in action as a child, but also loved assembling miniature characters to which he would diagram various plays and strategies for the game as a young man. He’s held several positions as assistant coach at college teams across the nation, and after recently leaving the Nevada Wolfpack basketball program is on to his next stop in the basketball world. Hufnagel is still quite young and has a chance to one day take over as head coach in college or even the NBA.
Hufnagel grew up in Scarsdale, New York and in addition to his love of basketball also played lacrosse. While he did not make the Scarsdale high school basketball team, he did follow through on the sport as a color commentator on a local television station that covered the team’s games. He continued playing lacrosse all the way into college and joined the team his freshman year at Penn State. He left the team one year later though and decided to finish academics at Cornell University where he got his bachelor’s degree.
His basketball coaching career started taking off once he completed college and he joined a small coaching internship program with the New Jersey Nets where a current player they drafted became impressed by Hufnagel. That player recommended him to then Oklahoma Sooner basketball coach Jeff Capel. Hufnagel joined Capel’s coaching staff and helped recruit some valuable players including future star Blake Griffin. But Hufnagel went even further than that in the coming years when he joined Harvard and became an assistant coach who helped the team improve its record during the four years he was there to 90-30. From Harvard he went on to accept assistant coach positions at Vanderbilt, UC Berkley and University of Nevada. As of now he is looking to take the next step.