Why Yanni Hufnagel Was Once Considered a Rising Star in the College Coaching Ranks

The world of college basketball is home to many young and promising coaches who could one day be leading major schools or NBA teams. Not too long ago, Yanni Hufnagel was one of those coaches teeming with the potential to be a true difference maker in basketball.


Hufnagel first made his mark in college basketball while working as a graduate assistant for the Oklahoma Sooners. Hufnagel’s stint with the Sooners coincided with Blake Griffin’s stay there and he is regarded as one of the people who helped mold the forward into a top-level prospect and eventual number one overall pick in the star-studded 2009 NBA Draft.


During an interview with Lohud.com back in 2014, Hufnagel recalled his time at Oklahoma and he said that being able to work with Griffin and then Sooners coach Jeff Capel III was meaningful to him because it showed him how important it is to have a good work ethic.


After getting the chance to work with Griffin, Capel, and the other Sooners, Hufnagel then took up a job as an assistant coach at Harvard, where he again got the chance to work with a future NBA player in Jeremy Lin.


The next stop for Hufnagel in the college basketball world following Harvard was Vanderbilt, and he further honed his coaching and recruiting chops thereby helping the school land future NBA draftee Wade Baldwin IV.


Hufnagel’s stay with the Vanderbilt Commodores proved to be a short one as he opted not to pass on the assistant coaching job that was offered to him by the California Golden Bears head coach Cuonzo Martin.


According to Hufnagel, part of the reason for why he took the job with the Golden Bears is because he believed doing so put him in position to be considered for other opportunities should they open up down the line. His recruiting skills came in handy again during his time with the Golden Bears as he was instrumental in helping the team land future NBA players Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb.


Yanni Hufnagel last worked in college basketball as an assistant coach for the Nevada Wolf Pack under head coach Eric Musselman.