ALBANY — Tehoka Nanticoke has played his last game in a UAlbany uniform.
Men’s lacrosse head coach Scott Marr dismissed his leading scorer on Wednesday “based on internal team issues,” according to a short statement released by the UAlbany athletic department prior to Marr’s weekly Zoom conference with the media.
He declined to comment further, beyond saying that the team has expected and been ready for personnel losses all season.
“Nothing [changes], really,” Marr said. “We’ve had two games already this year without him. He was out of the lineup due to COVID and the suspension. We’re prepared to move forward, and this is kind of how we’ve prepared all season with anybody on the team who can’t be in the lineup.
“We have people in place, and guys that have played all season already, so it’s not a huge adjustment at all.”
Nanticoke, a senior attack from Six Nations, Ontario, was selected a preseason All-America honorable mention and leads the Great Danes with 23 points on 15 goals and eight assists despite missing two games.
He was among several players who were out for the season opener due to COVID-19 protocols, and Nanticoke missed last week’s win over UMass while serving a one-game suspension by the America East for a fight that occurred in the fourth quarter of the Binghamton road game on March 20.
Nanticoke was a highly touted recruit with dazzling offensive skill who was named AE Rookie of the Year and All-Conference First Team in 2018 after racking up 50 goals and 32 assists.
He experienced a rocky sophomore season, during which he was ruled ineligible for one game for a social media post that appeared to promote a business, then Marr benched him the following week, a 14-9 home loss to No. 7 Maryland.
Nanticoke was UAlbany’s leading scorer in 2020, when the season was canceled after five games because of the pandemic.
The UAlbany statement reads: “The University at Albany men’s lacrosse program and head coach Scott Marr have announced the dismissal of Tehoka Nanticoke from the program. Nanticoke was dismissed based on internal team issues. Marr and the program wish Nanticoke well moving forward. There will be no further comment at this time.”
Nanticoke posted the following message on Twitter:
“Good afternoon world …”
“You may or may have heard by now, but I am no longer a part of the UAlbany men’s lacrosse team. This was a difficult group decision for me to longer be a part of the program. But it is what is best for me personally and for the future of this team.”
“With that being said, I will be attending classes online with the university. Coach Marr is still riding and sticking with his commitment in keeping me on track to graduate. It will, and always will be, a goal of mine to graduate college ever since leaving home back in 2014. I have nothing but love for this program. I would not be who I am today without Scott Marr, Merrick Thomson, Liam Gleason, and John Maloney, Derrick Eccles, Tal Bruno, and Connor Russell are all coaches who pushed me to be the best me day in and day out.”
“Most importantly, my teammates this year as well as past teammates that I have had while being a part of this program are my brothers. I’ll ride and die with these guys for life.”
“I love these men and can’t wait for what this program has ahead of them. Only bleed purp N gold.”
The “Uno out…” signoff refers to Nanticoke’s jersey No. 1.
The 4-2 Great Danes will play host to UMass Lowell at John Fallon Field on Saturday.
“It definitely does not change anything,” senior Alex Burgmaster said. “As a team, we’re just focused on UMass Lowell at this point, working hard to try and get a win on Saturday.”
“We might move the ball a little differently without him in the lineup,” Marr said. “I think the guys play a little bit freer and more as a unit. We’ll see. Again, the games we’ve played without him, the thought process isn’t so much getting the ball to him as it is just getting the ball to somebody.”
Marr had high expectations for this team coming into the season, and believes the team can still accomplish what it wants to without Nanticoke.
“Absolutely,” he said. “They’re very talented. I’m as deep as I’ve ever been, I’ve got a great goalie, we have tremendous defenders. We’re getting better at the faceoff X. We’ve got a lot of guys who can play. They’ll play hard for each other, that’s for sure.”