Yanni Hufnagel began his coaching career as a young fan of basketball looking to read as many books on coaching as he could before finally taking the plunge as a graduate intern at the New Jersey Nets NBA franchise. Despite his career beginning in the professional ranks of basketball, Yanni Hufnagel has spent the majority of his coaching career in the college basketball ranks where he has shown his skills as a recruitment specialist who has an eye on turning those with promise into excellent professional prospects.
At the New Jersey Nets the coaching potential Hufangel showed was quickly identified by his fellow staff members on the coaching team where he was recommended to Oklahoma College basketball coach Jeff Capel as an assistant; given a paid role at Oklahoma the coaching skills already present in his abilities were used in aid of bringing future NBA star Blake Griffin to success at the college level.
Yanni Hufnagel was such a success at Oklahoma that he was once again recommended for a role with the Harvard basketball team by Oklahoma’s Jeff Capel to Harvard coach Tommy Amaker. Coach Capel had already identified Hufnagel as one of the leading recruiters on his coaching staff and felt the move to Harvard would only assist the young coach in developing his career. At Harvard, Yanni Hufnagel made a major impact as a recruiter who was named to the CBS Sports 2011 list of assistant coaches destined to find success in the future due to their ability to identify new recruits. Among the players, Yanni Hufnagel has been credited with improving the skills of being the Harvard graduate Jeremy Lin and the University of California, Berkely alumni Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb.