College basketball can become quite predictable. There are the powerhouse schools, like Duke, that always seem to win. It’s almost like how the New York Yankees will always be good because they can spend the most amount of money. But colleges cannot spend money on their players, so how does Duke when all the time?
The answer is simple — they recruit better than any other college in the country. Duke likely puts aside a lot of money for its basketball team by issuing its entire roster athletic scholarships. And if you are one of the best high school college basketball players in the country, wouldn’t you want to play for the giant powerhouse? Most young men say yes to this question.
So, Duke sells itself. Recruiters for the school did not really impress me. But there is one recruiter in this country that really impresses me. Yanni Hufnagel, the early 30s Jewish assistant coach at the University of Nevada at Reno, is likely the best recruiter in the country.
He really got my attention recruiting for Harvard University back in 2009. Harvard is a tough school to sell because it’s incredibly hard to get into and you have to pay your way through school. Yanni Hufnagel had to tell prospective ballplayers that Harvard does not issue athletic scholarships. Oh, and he had to tell them Harvard does not lower its academic standards.
Despite these handicaps, Yanni Hufnagel was able to put together a roster that produced one NBA superstar and one the school’s first Ivy League championship. In 2011 alone, the team 26 games and climbed up into the national rankings for the first time in school history. Yanni Hufnagel makes the recruiters at Duke look like chumps. Just imagine what kind of team he could put together if he was in charge of one of those powerhouse programs.