The world of college basketball is cutthroat. There are only a handful of Division I college basketball coaching jobs, and their are a multitude of talented coaches vying for those positions. Only somebody completely committed to the game of basketball could endure the long road to head coach stardom in the college basketball world. Yanni Hufnagel is just such a man.
There are a few things that make Yanni Hufnagel unique in the world of college basketball coaching. First of all, he is Jewish. There are no Jewish basketball players in the NBA and only about 30 Jewish coaches in the college basketball world. Secondly, he gained his fame in the college basketball world by recruiting for the Harvard Crimson Tide as an assistant coach. He helped lead the school to the first Ivy League championship in Harvard’s history.
If you know anything about college basketball, you know that assistant coaches are primarily recruiters. You may also know that assistant coaches do not draw a paycheck. Yanni Hufnagel is so committed to the game of basketball that he took the high profile yet unpaid position in order to forge a path for himself to the top.
He has gained the respect of his college coaching peers due to his fearlessness when recruiting. Despite the fact that Harvard was a hard school to sell to talk to your high school talent, Yanni Hufnagel was able to put together a roster that went 79-24 during his four years at Harvard. He was also able to land if you top 100 recruits even though Harvard did not give out athletic scholarships and enforced a rigid academic prerequisite.
That’s just the kind of guy that Yanni Hufnagel is. Most recruiters would not waste their time on a prospect that is likely to say no. Yanni Hufnagel is not afraid to dive in head first and give it all he has in order to recruit the best talent. It is this kind of attitude that has made NBA stars like Blake Griffin and Jeremy Lin respect the coach so much. Yanni Hufnagel is on the rise in the world of basketball.