Yanni Hufnagel’s Impressive College Basketball Story

I bet you that they will make a movie about Yanni Hufnagel before his career is all said and done. I don’t know if every famous college coach followed a similar career path, but Yanni Hufnagel’s life story is incredibly uplifting.


Yanni Hufnagel grew up in Scarsdale, New York. It’s a Jewish suburb of New York City that piles on plenty of pressure for its young people to succeed as lawyers, doctors and business people. Instead of following the usual path of somebody from Scarsdale, New York, Yanni Hufnagel took the road less traveled.


He washed used player jerseys for the New Jersey Nets as an unpaid intern while attending Cornell University. He did the dirty work just to be in the room when the New Jersey Nets were planning their draft positions. He viewed it as invaluable experience.


He moved on to become a graduate assistant at Oklahoma just to coordinate the schools on campus recruiting visits. He was famous for opening the gym early for NBA star Blake Griffin and rebounding for the big man during his personal shooting practice.


Yanni Hufnagel moved on to Harvard University in 2009 where he was really able to put his skills on display. Harvard does not give athletic scholarships nor does the Ivy League school lowered its academic standards for athletes. Despite Harvard being a very difficult school to sell to high school basketball players, Yanni Hufnagel was able to recruit a stellar team but won Harvard’s first Ivy League championship.


2011 was a hallmark year for Yanni Hufnagel. Harvard would win a school record 26 games and become nationally ranked for the first time in the Ivy League schools history. He saw himself named the assistant coach most likely to become famous by a CBS Sports poll of college coaches.


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