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Presenting The Most Exciting Young Athlete in America

Tehoka Nanticoke is an attackman who goes 6 foot 1, 235 pounds.

And I do mean America. But he’s not a citizen of the United States, Mexico or Canada. He’s a true native, a Mohawk, a member of the Iroquois Confederacy. He was born and raised on the Six Nations reservation in Ontario, where lacrosse isn’t a religion in the poetic sense, it is a religion in the ACTUAL sense. It is the “medicine game,” the “gift of the Creator,” and is known as Tewaaraton. This young Mohawk first picked up a stick at the age of 3, and his older brother has been training him ever since.

His talent and love for the game has long been obvious, but his profile was limited by his being a C student from a poor reservation high school. But that all changed in 2014, when playing for the Six Nations team at a tournament at IMG Prep in Bradenton, Florida. He caught the attention of numerous NCAA scouts, including Scott Marr, the head coach at UAlbany. Soon after, he left his mother and brother in Ontario and transferred to IMG, to get his grades up to NCAA standards.

And then this happened. In 2016, while playing for the Iroquois Nationals at the U19 World Championships, he scored 22 goals and 9 assists, was named All-World Team and MVP. In 2017, playing for the Six Nation Arrows in the Minto Cup, he scored 18 points. In his last season at IMG, he led his team to a 19-1 record and a #22 national ranking. Along the way, he scored an unassisted loose-ball-shoulder-check-scoop-swim-split-one-hand-between-the-legs-one-bounce goal that was so unfathomable it was #2 on ESPN’s Top Plays, on a Monday following an NFL weekend. Finally, he landed on the front cover of Inside Lacrosse magazine as the #1 high school recruit for 2017.

His name is Tehoka Nanticoke. Truly. He is an attackman who goes 6 foot 1, 235 pounds. Honestly. He plays for Albany, which in recent years has featured several Iroquois standouts including the Thompson brothers Miles (Tewaaraton trophy winner) and Lyle (two-time Tewaaraton winner and all-time NCAA scoring champion). Yikes.

Has he lived up to the hype? Well, on February 16, playing in his very first college game against Syracuse (arguably the most prominent program in lacrosse, with a rich heritage of Iroquois players of its own), he scored five goals and UAlbany won by an embarrassing 15-3 margin. It was one of the worst drubbings Syracuse has ever taken, and in their own Carrier Dome. (Talk about giving them a dose of their own medicine game.) Ouch.

Seven games into the season, Albany is undefeated and ranked #1, having outscored their opponents by a combined 114-51. And no team remains on their regular season schedule who seems capable of giving them a game. NCAA tournament committee take note.

Nanticoke has 20 goals and 13 assists, averaging over 4 points a game. And just yesterday he was added to the Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List. And it looks like he’s just warming up.

(Wanna get your Friday off to a head-spinning start? Here you go: https://www.gq.com/story/very-good-lacrosse-shot)

Tehoka Nanticoke. Gift of the creator indeed.

Mike Keeler

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