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
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).
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
Tehoka Nanticoke. Gift of the creator indeed.