Blazers Form Wheelchair Basketball Team

September 27, 2002

The Blazers are introducing a new partnership with the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) at an exhibition game this Saturday. The Blazers have formed a partnership with Oregon Disability Sports (ODS) to form a wheelchair team, the Wheel Blazers.

This Saturday at 7:00 p.m., the Wheel Blazers will take on Portland Police Officers who are part of the Child Abuse Prevention team in an exhibition game at the Blazers Boy & Girls Club. The event is free to the public and doors open at 6:00.

The Wheel Blazers will be led by Ian Jaquiss, shooting guard for the Wheel Blazers and Executive Director of ODS, and coached by Bob LaFavor, a player and coach in wheelchair basketball for nearly 30 years. The Wheel Blazers compete in Division II in the NWBA.

The Wheel Blazers are a 10-man team who travel throughout Oregon and the country to participate in games and tournaments held by the NWBA. With the newly formed Blazers partnership, the Wheel Blazers are provided with monetary support and a donation of practice jerseys and uniforms for the players.

Oregon Disability Sports is a non-profit organization that promotes athletic opportunities for people with physical disabilities. Each year ODS serves more than 400 people of all ages in Oregon and Southwest Washington in a variety of sports, from wheelchair basketball to tennis to swimming to track. ODS also hosts events that are designed to be introductions to athletic competitions for children with physical disabilities or for people who are newly injured. The mission of ODS is to encourage athletes to lead healthy lifestyles so that they can become participating, active members of society.

The National Wheelchair Basketball Association is comprised of 181 basketball teams within twenty-two conferences. The NWBA was founded in 1948, and today consists of men's, women's, intercollegiate, and youth teams throughout the United States of America and Canada.

For questions about the Wheel Blazers program or how you can become a part of the ODS program, please contact Ian Jaquiss, Executive Director of Oregon Disability Sports at 503.241.0850.

Player Roster and Bios for the 2002-2003 Wheel Blazers

Derrick Lee, Shooting Guard
Lee is beginning his senior year at David Douglas High School in Southeast Portland. Last season, Lee was the Portland team's second leading scorer, averaging more than 15 points per game. He also led the BORP (Berkeley, California) Bay Cruisers to a sixth place finish at the 2001-02 National Junior Championships in Birmingham, AL. Lee has been selected to the USA Junior National Team that will represent the country in tournaments in Australia and England in the summer of 2003.

Jess Markt, Small Forward
Markt is beginning his third season in wheelchair basketball after an auto accident cut short his career as a high jumper for the University of Oregon Track Team. He graduated from the University of Oregon in 2000 with a degree in English Literature. Markt is an account executive at Waggener Edstrom doing public relations for Microsoft.

Jake Schmaltzriedt, Power Forward
In only four years of wheelchair basketball, Schmaltzriedt has developed into one of the best players in the Pacific Northwest. He has led Portland in scoring for the last two seasons. At the end of last season Schmalzriedt graduated from Portland State with a double major in Fine Arts and Graphic Design.

Steve Tew, Point Guard
Tew comes to Portland from Arkansas where he won five national championships in the 1990's. He also led the junior Razorback team to the national junior title in 1996. Tew was selected to the U.S. Para Olympic team in 2000. He attended the University of Texas-Arlington on a basketball scholarship.

Bob LaFavor, COACH
LaFavor has been playing or coaching wheelchair basketball for nearly 30 years. He has coached, taught or played with the best teams and players in Oregon, Washington, and California. LaFavor owns his a body shop in outside of Eugene.

cott Poston, Point Guard
Poston has played for Portland-based teams for the past nine years. Paston, who was born in Lake Tahoe, has called Oregon his home for the last fifteen years. He works for the Downtown YMCA in Portland.

Kirk Parkhurst, Point Guard
Parkhurst has been a mainstay of Portland wheelchair basketball for more than 20 years. Basketball is his first sporting love, but he is an accomplished skier and sailor. Parkhurst was one of the top mono-skiers in the work during the 1990's. Parkhurst represented the USA in the winter Para Olympics in 1992. Recently he began sailing competitively and may make another Para Olympic team, this time in sailing.

Michael Morin, Center
For the last 20 years, Morin has played wheelchair basketball against the best big men in the country. Morin has led the team for which he has played in scoring in all but one year. Off the court, Morin has written more than ten books of poetry and one novel. He is currently working on a screenplay. In his spare time he creates and maintains Web sites for many friends and organizations.

Jesse Warren, Small Forward
Warren is competitive in both wheelchair basketball and tennis. For the last two seasons, Warren has played in the A Division, traveling all over the country to match up against the best tennis players in the world. He has been playing basketball for five seasons.

Ian Jaquiss, Shooting Guard
Jaquiss has been playing wheelchair basketball for the past six seasons, first in Eugene for three years and then Portland. Jaquiss is currently the Executive Director of Oregon Disability Sports. Prior to embarking on a basketball career, Ian won two gold medals at the 1988 Seoul Para Olympics in swimming. He won the 50-meter breaststroke and was on a winning relay. Ian was the first person with a traumatic spinal cord injury to swim for a Division I NCAA program when he swam for the University of Southern California from 1985-1988.

Tyler Strahan, Small Forward
Strahan is coming back to wheelchair basketball after sitting out the last two seasons for health reasons. He has enrolled at Clark College and has yet to determine his major.

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