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Vanderbilt hires Harvard assistant Yanni Hufnagel

Princeton basketball vs. Harvard

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The Harvard men’s basketball team visited Princeton March 1, 2013.

Beverly Schaefer (Harvard Athletic Communications)

Vanderbilt has made a change to their coaching staff, as Kevin Stallings went out and plucked Yanni Hufnagel off of Tommy Amaker’s staff at Harvard.

“I couldn’t be more excited to join Coach Stallings and the rest of his outstanding staff here at Vanderbilt,” said Hufnagel. “Coach Stallings is not only recognized as one of the best coaches in college basketball, but also as one of the most family-driven. Vanderbilt’s brand is a powerful one and I am truly humbled to have the opportunity to represent such an elite institution.”

Hufnagel is one of the guys responsible for Harvard’s resurgence mainly because he’s a terrific recruiter. He brought in players that are far more talented than typical Ivy League players because he was able to target the elite kids with the grades to get into Harvard and sell them on the idea that Harvard, as he told me two years ago, “isn’t a four-year decision, it’s a 40-year decision.”

That same style of recruiting will work at Vanderbilt, another elite academic institution. Find the kids that care about academics and sell them on a) winning in the SEC and b) having a degree from Vanderbilt to fall back on whenever the ball stops bouncing. It’s a great hire, particularly because the influx of talent into the Commodore program has been lacking in recent years.

More interesting, however, will be to see how Harvard responds. They will be loaded next season and will likely have enough talent on the roster for the next couple of seasons to be a continuous threat to make the NCAA tournament. But without Hufnagel on the staff, are they still going to be able to go out and get the same players that they have in recent years?

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.