BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Tehoka Nanticoke is a name Buffalo Bandits fans have heard often.
Nanticoke hails from the Six Nations and his life has always been about lacrosse. Nanticoke's brother Chancey was a player who helped instill that love.
"He taught me how to hold a stick," Nanticoke said. "I've been around the game as long as I can remember."
He's also been around the Bandits. They used to practice every Wednesday back at home, so Nanticoke would work out in the early evening and then stick around to watch them practice. On game days he was a ball boy, learning and growing that passion.
"When they were talking at halftime, I was hiding in the corner just listening to the IQ and the brains of the locker room," he said.
And more than a decade later, Nanticoke's back inside that locker room, this time as a player. It's a full circle moment after hearing his name 3rd overall in the 2021 National Lacrosse League Draft.
"I wake up and I get to do what I love every day," he said. "It's crazy to think I'm here with the Bandits now. Everything is falling in line."
In his rookie season, Nanticoke leads the team in game winning goals , is tied for third in total goals  and is 7th in assists .
It's a start any player would dream of having as he's closing in on 100 shots on goal. The on-field stats and minutes are great, but it's playing inside KeyBank Center that gets him fired up.
"These goosebumps that I'm getting talking about it, there's no better roar than Banditland," he said.
A fan base that has embraced Nanticoke and his teammates as they prepare for their biggest games yet. But the overall picture? Even more exciting for a former ball boy who's hoping to be a lifelong bandit.
"Everything happens for a reason and I think me being here is definitely for a reason," said Nanticoke. "All I can say is I'm excited for this program's future."
The Bandits kick off the postseason on Saturday as they host Albany.