Imagine for a second that you are one of the country’s best high school basketball players. Every single college is knocking on your door in order to recruit you. What would you look for in your college? You would pick the school giving you the biggest scholarship and the most exposure for a future in the NBA, wouldn’t you?
Now imagine a recruiter from Harvard University shows up. He tells you that the school cannot offer you a scholarship and that you must get very good grades in order to be admitted. You probably wouldn’t choose that school, would you?
These are the obstacles that Yanni Hufnagel faced as a recruiter and assistant coach for the Harvard Crimson Tide. Despite these obstacles, he was able to recruit a team that went 79-24 in his four years at the University. In 2011, his team achieved a school record of 26 victories and was nationally ranked for the first time in Harvard history. They also won their first-ever Ivy League championship.
This wild success earned Yanni Hufnagel universal praise in the college basketball world. A CBS Sports poll of college basketball coaches named Yanni Hufnagel the assistant coach most likely to become a star due to recruiting skills.
His first college head coach, Jeff Capel of Oklahoma, sums it up best. “Yanni Hufnagel was not afraid to hear the word no, he was a great businessman and everybody really likes him.” It is this confluence of personality traits and skills that allowed him to achieve a top-five recruiting class at the UC Berkeley.
Now the assistant coach at the University of Nevada, Reno, Yanni Hufnagel is waiting for his big break — to be able to run his own Division I college program. He has all the skills to become the next Brad Stevens.