The Story of Yanni Hufnagel: College Basketball Prodigy

Yanni Hufnagel used to be a college basketball coach. He was an assistant coach for teams such as; The Oklahoma Sooners, the Harvard Crimson, California Golden Bears, Vanderbilt Commodores, and Nevada Wolf Pack. During his 8 years of coaching, Hufnagel was considered one of the top recruiters in the game. Hufnagel has been described in the past as the “Energizer Bunny of college basketball” due to his incredible work ethic.

Hufnagel started his career as a graduate assistant for Oklahoma for two seasons under the leadership of Jeff Capel. During his time there he also worked alongside Blake Griffin, who would go on to become an NBA superstar. He was inspired by their dedication. Hufnagel has been quoted saying, “I think a major key that turned the engine for me was being with Blake and with Jeff for those two years. Being around them, appreciating their work ethic, that was important for me to see early on.”


Hufnagel eventually left Oklahoma for Harvard, where he served as a coach and recruiter under the leadership of Tommy Amaker. During his time there, he would foster relationships with people like Jeremy Lin and Wesley Saunders. After Harvard, Hufnagel joined the Vanderbilt Commodores. He served as an assistant coach under the leadership of Kevin Stallings for about a year.

Hufnagel joined the California Golden Bears in 2014, which was under the leadership of Cuonzo Martin. During his time there, he ultimately persuaded Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb to join the team. He would go on to lead the Golden Bears to great success. In April 2016, Hufnagel accepted a position with the Nevada Wolf Pack, which was under the leadership of Eric Musselman. This would be his final position before retiring in 2017.


Although he no longer coaches, his legacy lives on. He is revered as one of the best coaches and recruiters of all time. His passion and devotion to his work were always evident. He is an inspiration for all aspiring coaches and recruiters.