Yanni Hufnagel’s career started in Scarsdale, New York, where he was cut from the Scarsdale High School basketball team, before taking on the job of color commentator for the high school team’s games on local access television. He went for a year at Pennsylvania State University, joined the lacrosse team, then transferring to Cornell University where he received his bachelor’s degree. Before attending the University of Oklahoma, he finished an internship with the New Jersey Nets, was a graduate assistant coach for the men’s basketball team, and publicly acknowledged as having in helped mold Blake Griffin.
After getting his master’s degree in Oklahoma, Yanni Hufnagel joined the Harvard Crimson men’s basketball program as an assistant coach and recruiter under Tommy Amaker in June, 2009. In a CBS Sports survey conducted, his peer honored him by praising his recruiting abilities, and was named to the CBS Sports basketball ‘dream team’ of assistant coaches prior to the season of 2012-2013. He is credited as in having helped develop Jeremy Lin and Wesley Saunders. Yanni Hufnagel left and in May 2013, he joined the Vanderbilt Commodores staff under Kevin Stallings as an assistant coach. While there, ESPN credited him with helping Vanderbilt become the 29-ranked 2014 recruiting class, including Wade Baldwin IV and Matthew Fisher-Davis. Hufnagel left after one season and then joined the coaching staff of the California Golden Bears as assistant coach, under Cuonzo Martin. He is acknowledged in having a hand in persuading Jaylen Brown and Ivan Rabb to join, and Brown and Rabb helped in leading the team to a 2016 NCAA Tournament berth.
Yanni Hufnagel is currently serving as assistant coach to the Nevada Wolf Pack, having joined for the 2016-2017 season under second year head coach, Eric Musselman, where Yanni continues to make his presence seen and felt.