Yanni Hufnagel proved to be one of the most successful assistant coaches and recruiters in the NCAA. He had total devotion to coaching and recruiting the best young top basketball talent in the country. His career in basketball began when he was a junior in high school. As a junior, he was cut from the Scarsdale High School varsity basketball team. Still wanting to be around the game he loved he ended up taking up a color commentating position for the team. After graduating from Cornell University in 2006, his recruiting and coaching career began in 2007 at the University of Oklahoma at age 23. With the Sooners, he worked as a graduate assistant under coach Jeff Capel where he worked alongside future NBA no. 1 draft pick and LA Clippers/Detroit Pistons star Blake Griffin.
In 2009, after a two-year stint with the Sooners, Hufnagel took a job as the assistant coach and recruiter for the Harvard Crimson. He proved to be an excellent recruiter, thriving on developing relationships and connecting with the student-athletes to ensure they have excellent careers. While at Harvard, it was Hufnagel who recruited the New York Knicks’ Jeremy Lin and former Nicks’ G league prospect Wesley Saunders to play for the Crimson.
In 2013, after four years at Harvard, Hufnagel took a job being the assistant coach and recruiting at Vanderbilt. While at both Harvard and Vanderbilt, most of the student-athlete connections he made were with students from California.
His California connections led to him taking a job with the University of California, Berkley in 2014. He was personally contacted and offered a job by head coach Cuonzo Martin. At Cal, Hufnagel continued to work as the assistant coach for the Golden Bears and continued to build relationships with prospective student-athletes in California.