Malcolm Gladwell, the famous sportswriter, did a sociological experiment and came to a startling conclusion — it takes 10,000 hours of practice to master a skill. That is an incredible amount of time. In order to become one of the world’s best basketball players, Blake Griffin needed to practice for 10,000 hours during his lifetime. Yanni Hufnagel was there to help them achieve his 10,000th hour.
Yanni Hufnagel would show to the gym at Oklahoma early in the morning to open the doors for Blake Griffin. He would warm the superstar up and rebound for him during shooting drills. When the superstar wanted to stay late, Yanni Hufnagel would be there to close the gym doors after guiding him through another personal practice.
It is the Yanni Hufnagel’s of the world that are really impressive to me. These are the men who spend their entire lives hoping to get other people to the top of their games. And it looks like Yanni Hufnagel is finally going to be recognized for his work.
The Jewish assistant coach of the University at Reno grew up in Scarsdale, New York. He was cut from his high school varsity basketball team which inspired him to become the team’s announcer. He graduated from Cornell after taking an unpaid internship with the New Jersey Nets washing players jerseys. That’s when he got his big break and became the assistant coach at Oklahoma.
In 2009, he moved over to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to become the assistant coach and recruiter for the Crimson Tide. In four years, he built an Ivy League championship team that went 79-24. A poll of college coaches named him the most likely assistant coach to become a star based on recruiting skills alone. In his early 30s, he has decades to become a household name in college sports.