He might not look like it at first glance, but Yanni Hufnagel may be one of the brightest minds in basketball today. Although he was cut from his high school basketball team, his fall back gig revealed his true appreciation for the sport. Calling games for his home town’s public-access station, he earned the respect of his broadcast partner who said about Hufnagel, “He was so far ahead for someone our age in terms of analyzing basketball. You knew he’d be either doing this for a living or he’d be a coach one day.” After his stint as a commentator, Yanni worked his way up the ladder. He worked as a basketball manager and took internships with the New Jersey Nets. From there, he landed a job under Oklahoma basketball Coach Jeff Capel, who after two years referred him to Harvard head Coach Tommy Amaker. After Harvard was Vanderbilt, UC Berkeley, and finally (for the time being) the University of Nevada, Reno.
Throughout his career, Yanni Hufnagel has had the opportunity to work with some of the best coaches and young athletes in the world, and he made an impression on all of them. This includes such household names as Jeremy Lin (Houston Rockets guard) and Blake Griffin (number one NBA draft pick), whose older brother, Taylor, called Hufnagel, “probably the most genuine, hardworking guy I’ve ever been around in basketball.” With such a stellar record and reputation, it seems the sky is the limit for this young coach. So keep your eye on Yanni Hufnagel. He may be the coach to watch.