According to Jon Rothstein, a CBS college basketball analyst, Yanni Hufnagel was one of the youngest college assistant coaches he had ever met. His sense of humor, the power of understanding the ability to relate with almost everyone was one on the just but a few attributes he possessed. Yanni Hufnagel was fond of recruiting new players who grasped the concept of basketball. Additionally, Jon Rothstein explained further how Yanni Hufnagel was passionate about whatever program he was doing. The young assistant coach could not be stopped by anything. He always made things work out for the better.
Yanni Hufnagel’s devotion and taking pride in what he did transform him into one of the brightest and hardworking assistant coach in the country. He rose from lower ranks to become an assistant coach in only a few years. During one of his interviews in a cab sometime back, he talked of how his passion has made him who he is today. He spoke of believing in yourself and having that driving force was what was the need in making a change in one’s life.
He was a visionary ever since he was a young kid. At 16 years old, he used to analyze matches on how the players were defending, attacking and generally how they played the game. According to his longtime partner Bill Raftery, Yanni Hufnagel was an extraordinary kid at the time, and his love for the game could be seen back then. Later after his broadcasting career as an analyst, he moved to a Cornell as a manager for the students but did not part in any severe coaching activities until his age 23. He later worked as a graduate assistant for Jeff Capel for sometime before working with Blake Griffin, who later became an NBA superstar as well.
He further attributed his success to the friendly relationship between him and his former colleagues, Jeff and Blake. The advice and work ethics that he received while working around them was the turning point in his life. He later got his first ever coaching experience at Harvard when he was an assistant coach under Tommy Amaker, and he performed exemplary.