Princeton basketball vs. Harvard

Vanderbilt hires Harvard assistant Yanni Hufnagel

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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.

Henry Ellenson wins Marquette Madness dunk contest

Steve Wojciechowski
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Marquette freshman forward Henry Ellenson won the Marquette Madness slam dunk contest on Friday night with a between the legs dunk.

The 6-foot-10 Ellenson, the top recruit in Steve Wojciechowski’s freshmen class, defeated sophomore Sandy Cohen, fellow freshman Sacar Anim and Wally Ellenson, his older brother.

Ellenson joins the Golden Eagles as the No. 11 overall recruit in the Class of 2015.

Bill Self signs $10,000 check for KU student


Late Night in the Phog is typically a night to remember for Kansas fans. For Kansas student Jerrod Martin Castro, Friday night’s event is one he won’t forget.

Castro, a sophomore, was selected as a contestant for a $10,000 giveaway. The only thing standing in the way of a big payday was a half-court shot. Brennan Bechard, the Kansas director of basketball operations, attempted the long-distance shot and hit nothing but net.

Kansas head coach Bill Self signed a $10,000 check on the spot.