Tehoka Nanticoke is currently in his rookie year in the National Lacrosse League, playing for the Buffalo Bandits.

Nanticoke was drafted in the first round, third overall by the Bandits, and has taken the league by storm, sitting in a tie for the league lead in goals by a rookie, with 17. Nanticoke turned pro after playing college lacrosse with Scott Mar at the University at Albany, where, unsurprisingly, he was a star, too.

2018 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship - Semifinals
Getty Images

Nanticoke had a meteoric rise during his playing days in the Capital Region, but, as stars rise, there's always a chance they can fall. That happened to Tehoka Nanticoke, too.

Ahead of his return to the Capital Region at the MVP Arena tomorrow night, here is the inside story behind the rise, and fall, of Tehoka Nanticoke in Albany, New York.

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The Rise of Tehoka Nanticoke

Nanticoke was born on the Six Nations Reservation in Ontario, and picked up lacrosse at a very early age. Aided by his brother, who was ten years Tehoka's senior, Nanticoke developed a flare for the dramatic, which helped him establish himself as one of the top lacrosse prospects in North America.

Nanticoke committed to play with Scott Marr and the UAlbany Great Danes in 2016, and made his collegiate debut in 2018. He immediately became a can't-miss player for the Great Danes, showing off his skill in ways that few players before him had in Scott Marr's program.

How good were his stick skills? Check out this goal, which landed Nanticoke on SportsCenter's Top 10.

Nanticoke finished his freshman campaign with 49 goals and 32 assists, and was named the America East Rookie of the Year, in the process. Nanticoke was named to the Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List as a freshman, as well, and seemed to be destined for greatness in the Capital Region.

The Fall of Tehoka Nanticoke

Nanticoke would add 38 points in 12 games as a sophomore, and tally an eye-popping 27 points in five games during the COVID-shortened 2020 campaign for the Great Danes. With the season coming to a premature end, signs of trouble began to appear.

Rumors began to swirl during the extended offseason for the Great Danes, and when the team broke camp in February of 2021 against Colgate, Nanticoke was nowhere to be found on the roster, and the box score.

Then, this:

For what was later described as "internal team issues", Nanticoke was dismissed from the University at Albany men's lacrosse program. He would release a statement the same day, stating the following:

Once a Tewaaraton Trophy Watch List nominee and America East Rookie of the Year, Tehoka Nanticoke was no longer a member of the Great Danes. He would, however, declare for the NLL Draft, and that's where we find ourselves today.

Where Tehoka Nanticoke Finds Himself Today

Drafted in the 2021 NLL Entry Draft, Nanticoke would make his professional debut against the Calgary Roughnecks on December 4, 2021. Naturally, Nanticoke would score a hat trick in his pro debut, and as of today, he has four on the season. He's also scored in all nine of his professional games, to this point.

2018 NCAA Division I Men's Lacrosse Championship - Semifinals
Getty Images

So, when Tehoka Nanticoke takes the floor at the MVP Arena on Saturday night against the Albany FireWolves, choose to remember his rise in the Capital Region, and not his fall.

At his best, he was one of the most talented lax'ers to don the purple and gold.

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