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Yanni Hufnagel is a very successful assistant basketball coach at Harvard. The team has had great success every since he joined it four years ago, including his coaching NBA great Jeremy Lin and winning the Ivy League last year for the very first time. Hufnagel has become one of the most sought-after young coaches in the college ranks.
Hufnagel has never been that great of an athlete himself, something he jokes about being because he’s Jewish. He has said he couldn’t make the high school basketball team but he can make a shot “Like all Jewish guys”. He still loved sports, though, and so ended up calling games for the local public-access channel. His partner at the time, Ed Cohen, has said it was clear even from then that Hufnagel would end up either as a broadcaster or coach. Yanni coached his first year at Cornell, as a basketball manager, while also interning with the New Jersey Nets. After graduating he ended up with the Oklahoma team.
In 2009 Hufnagel came to Harvard as a volunteer assistant coach. During his time with Harvard he turned into an excellent recruiter largely due to his ability to not take no for an answer and because’s he’s a very charismatic salesman. It’s likely he will either be a head coach soon or at an even more prestigious college basketball powerhouse.
In 2014 Hufnagel was able to use his recruiting skills to help land a nationally recognized freshman class at Vanderbilt. While at Vanderbilt he had coached Damian Jones who was picked by the Golden State Warriors with the overall 30th pick in the draft. He also helped develop Blake Griffin into being the #1 overall pick in the 2009 draft. In 2012 CBS Sports picked Yanni Hufnagel as one of their nine “Dream Team” college level assistant coaches.