How a former Vanderbilt basketball player landed role in HBO series on Los Angeles Lakers

Shelby Moats has joined the list of former Vanderbilt basketball players who are still playing the game professionally. Sort of.

Moats isn't playing in the NBA, the Gatorade League or even overseas. He is, however, being paid for his basketball prowess.

Moats, who played for the Commodores from 2011-15, landed a role in the HBO drama series "Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty," which debuted March 6 and is based on the book "Showtime," by former Tennessean sports writer Jeff Pearlman.

He plays Marty Byrnes, who spent 10 seasons in the NBA, including the Lakers championship season in 1979-80.

Former Vanderbilt basketball player Shelby Moats, right, who portrays Marty Byrnes in the HBO drama series "Winning Time," with  Quincy Isaiah, who portrays Magic Johnson.
Former Vanderbilt basketball player Shelby Moats, right, who portrays Marty Byrnes in the HBO drama series "Winning Time," with Quincy Isaiah, who portrays Magic Johnson.

Moats, who is 6-foot-8 and now a private investment manager in New York, started out as an extra, spent some time as a stunt double, and by the end of the series was upgraded to a character receiving screen credit.

"My friend (show consultant and basketball trainer) Idan Ravin pushed for me pretty hard and then I came in and I looked like (Byrnes) to the extent you put a moustache on me and it goes a long way," Moats said.

The bushy horseshoe moustache became a bit of a hindrance for Moats when he went back each week to his regular job.

"It's so good that I have a boss who is pretty pragmatic and said, 'This is a good opportunity; go ahead and do it,'" Moats said. "I'm pretty internal at work so I didn't ruin any relationships by having that nasty looking moustache. But we would have video calls and I would never turn on my camera. They were like, 'Hey Shelby, we can't see you,' and I would say, 'That's probably a good thing.'"

Vanderbilt senior Shelby Moats (34) might not return after suffering a second concussion this season.
Vanderbilt senior Shelby Moats (34) might not return after suffering a second concussion this season.

Moats was a reserve throughout his Vanderbilt career, which helped make him comfortable with his role as Byrnes, who was the Lakers' 12th man. It did not surprise Moats that he never played basketball on screen.

"If you're creating a story about Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who cares if Marty Byrnes plays?" Moats said. "It kind of mirrored my Vanderbilt basketball career. I knew exactly what I was doing. I was comfortable on the bench."

Moats said he established close friendships with several of the higher profile actors on the set including Adrien Brody, who plays Pat Riley, former Cal basketball player Solomon Hughes, who plays Abdul-Jabbar, Wood Harris who plays Spencer Haywood and Austin Aaron, who plays Mark Landsberger.

"I got really close to the guys on the team," Moats said. "Austin Aaron is the sweetest most genuine person I've ever met. After four months of being on set with him I was actually invited to his wedding."

HBO announced recently it has renewed the series for a second season.

Vandy's Darshawn McClellan hired at Louisiana Tech

Darshawn McClellan
Darshawn McClellan

Speaking of Vanderbilt, former Commodores basketball player Darshawn McClellan (2007-11), has joined the staff at Louisiana Tech.

McClellan played a fifth year at Louisiana Lafayette as a graduate student (2011-12).

The Fresno, California, native began his coaching career as director of player development at Vanderbilt in 2015-16 after playing professionally in Iceland, Japan and Luxembourg.

He’s also had coaching stints at Texas Tech and UTEP.

"Darshawn has an unbelievable ability to connect and work with players," said Louisiana Tech coach Talvin Hester. "He has worked two jobs in the state of Texas and has played in Tennessee and Louisiana, which all plays into us being able to recruit this region really well.”

USFL kicks off with lots of local ties

Several players and coaches with local ties will be part of the USFL when it returns this weekend.

Some of the players include Micah Abernathy, Tennessee, cornerback (Houston Gamblers); Brandon Haskin, Tennessee State, offensive lineman (New Jersey Generals); Robert Myers, TSU, offensive lineman (New Jersey); Tyshun Render, MTSU, defensive end (New Jersey); Paul Adams, Christ Presbyterian Academy, offensive lineman (New Orleans Breakers); Taywan Taylor, Tennessee Titans, wide receiver (New Orleans); Chris Rowland, TSU and Ravenwood, wide receiver (Philadelphia Stars); LaDarius Wiley, Vanderbilt, safety (Philadelphia); Chidi Okeke, TSU, offensive lineman (Pittsburgh Maulers); Madre London, Tennessee, running back (Pittsburgh); Arnold Tarpley III, Vanderbilt, safety (Pittsburgh); Terrell Bonds, TSU, cornerback (Pittsburgh); Bruno Reagan, Vanderbilt, offensive lineman (Tampa Bay Bandits) and Mekhi Brown, TSU, defensive end (Tampa Bay).

Coaches include former Titans coach Jeff Fisher (Michigan Panthers) and former MTSU offensive coordinator Larry Fedora (New Orleans).

Ex-Vols running back Bryce Brown joins Tennessee Tech staff

Bryce Brown
Bryce Brown

Former Tennessee running back Bryce Brown has joined the coaching staff at Tennessee Tech along with Devin Watson.

Brown, who will coach running backs and serve as junior college liaison, was a highly touted high school prospect who rushed for 460 yards and three touchdowns at Tennessee in 2009. He transferred to Kansas State and later spent four seasons in the NFL.

He was wide receivers coach at Butler Community College in Kansas the last two seasons.

Watson will coach cornerbacks and serve as assistant recruiting coordinator.

He was an All-America cornerback at Wofford who had 142 tackles and seven interceptions in his career.

Former Trousdale County star Wesley Satterfield was hired as Tech’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in January.

Ex-Lady Vol Kyra Elzy receives extension at Kentucky

Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy directs her players against Tennessee at the SEC Tournament March 5, 2022 at Bridgestone Arena. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Kentucky coach Kyra Elzy directs her players against Tennessee at the SEC Tournament March 5, 2022 at Bridgestone Arena. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Former Tennessee Lady Vols basketball star Kyra Elzy, now the coach at Kentucky, signed a contract extension through the 2027 season.

Elzy guided Kentucky to the SEC Tournament championship this past season.

She became the fifth coach in SEC history to win the tournament in the first two seasons on the job joining Jim Foster (Vanderbilt), Melanie Balcomb (Vanderbilt), Holly Warlick (Tennessee) and Joe Ciampi (Auburn).

Elzy’s record at Kentucky is 37-21 overall and 17-14 in the SEC.

Music City Grand Prix adds Indy Lights

The Indy Lights series has been added to the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix. Indy Lights is the developmental series of the NTT IndyCar Series.

The Nashville race will be on Aug. 7 starting at noon. It will be 35 laps (70 miles).

The Music City Grand Prix starts at 4:25 p.m.

Tickets for the Music City Grand Prix went on sale Wednesday at

Atlanta Braves Championship Trophy Tour coming to Nashville

The Atlanta Braves' World Championship Trophy is stopping in the Augusta-area this month as part of its 151-stop tour across the U.S.
The Atlanta Braves' World Championship Trophy is stopping in the Augusta-area this month as part of its 151-stop tour across the U.S.

The Atlanta Braves' World Series trophy tour is headed to Nashville.

The trophy will be at the Country Music Hall of Fame (April 26, noon-3 p.m.), Bridgestone Arena for the Nashville Predators-Calgary Flames game (April 26, 4-8 p.m.), Vanderbilt's Hawkins Field for the Commodores game against Texas A&M (April 29, 3:30-7:30 p.m.) and Academy Sports + Outdoors in Franklin (April 30, noon-3 p.m.).

The tour is making 151 stops, commemorating 151 years of Braves baseball.

Sports Writers Hall of Fame banquet set for July 14

The 2022 Tennessee Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame dinner is set for July 14 at Cumberland University.

The inductees include former Nashville Banner sports writer and Lipscomb sports information director Mark McGee; Chris Dortch, former Chattanooga sports writer who is now editor and publisher of Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook; and former Knoxville News Sentinel sports writer Dan Fleser.

Rick Byrd receives Wooden Award

Retired Belmont basketball coach Rick Byrd received the 2022 John R. Wooden Award Legends of Coaching honor last week.

The award was first presented in 1999 and is regarded as the highest honor in collegiate coaching.

Some of the past recipients include Mike Krzyzewski, Pat Summitt, Geno Auriemma and Dean Smith.

“There is no coach in the history of the game of basketball that embodied excellence, integrity and humility like John Wooden,” Byrd said. “As a young man, I was certainly influenced by his remarkable coaching success, but even more so by his personal character and Christian commitment.”

Belmont's Darby Maggard is Huntington's new coach

Darby Maggard
Darby Maggard

Darby Maggard, who played at Belmont and has spent the last two seasons on the coaching staff at UT Martin, is the new coach at Huntington (Indiana).

Maggard, a Larwill, Indiana, native, set the Belmont record for career 3-point field goal percentage (43.1%) and free throw percentage (92.4%) and was an Associated Press All-American in 2019.

She made the All-OVC and OVC all-tournament teams four consecutive seasons.

“Huntington lines up with everything I believe in and have a deep passion for,” Maggard said. “I’d like to thank Dr. (Sherilyn) Emberton and the committee for believing in me. I’d also like to thank (athletics director) Lori Culler for the positive culture she has created and the solid foundation of Christ she has built this program on.”

Huntington posted a 5-21 record this past season.

Vanderbilt men's golf team heads into SEC championships ranked No. 3

Vanderbilt’s men’s golf team finished the regular season playing extremely well.

The Commodores won four of their last five events including the Mossy Oak Collegiate in West Point, Mississippi, this week. Vandy climbed to No. 3 in Golfstat’s top-25 rankings after that victory.

Vandy won by 12 strokes led by freshman Gordon Sargent, who posted a three-day total of 204 winning low medalist.

Vanderbilt is now focused on the SEC championships April 19-24 on St. Simons Island, Georgia.

The Commodores won the 2021 championship by beating Tennessee, Alabama and Arkansas, respectively, in the match play portion of the competition.

Tennessee Tech adding beach volleyball

Zach Weinberg
Zach Weinberg

Tennessee Tech will add beach volleyball as a varsity sport. The team will begin competition in the spring of 2023.

It will become the Golden Eagles' 15th intercollegiate sports team.

Current Tech volleyball associate head coach Zach Weinberg will serve as the coach for the beach volleyball team, which will incorporate the players on the current indoor volleyball roster as team members as they retain eligibility from the fall into the spring semester.

Tech will represent one of five programs in the OVC to sponsor the sport, joining Eastern Illinois, Morehead State, UT Martin, and new league member Lindenwood. Chattanooga also competes in the OVC as an affiliate member in beach volleyball.

Vol State softball team is nationally ranked

The Vol State softball team cracked the NJCAA top-25 national poll this week at No. 18.

The Pioneers (34-7) have won 13 of their last 14 games and outscored their last six opponents 58-7.

The only other team from Tennessee in the top 25 is Chattanooga State at 10th.

Wallace State (Alabama) is No. 1.

UT Southern's Jeff Bain going into ADs hall of fame

Jeff Bain
Jeff Bain

Retired Tennessee Southern athletics director Jeff Bain will be inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame in June.

Bain spent 28 years at Tennessee Southern and oversaw the school's transition from a junior college to four-year institution. He retired in 2021.

Other inductees include Bruce Rasmussen (Creighton), Jim Fallis (Northern Colorado), Bill Hogan (Seattle), Dennis Thomas (Hampton), Charlie Titus (Massachusetts) and Kevin White (Duke).

Lafayette's Tyrone Perry transferring to Tech

Former Lafayette guard Tyrone Perry is transferring to Tennessee Tech for his final year of eligibility.

Perry, a native of Apopka, Florida, was a team captain and averaged 11.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists this past season. He ranked 16th on Lafayette’s all-time 3-point field goals list with 144.

Cam Olson joins Belmont soccer staff

Cam Olson
Cam Olson

Former Bucknell assistant Cam Olson has joined the Belmont men’s soccer staff.

Before his one season at Bucknell, Olson spent six seasons on the staff at Xavier.

He is Boston native who played at the University of Lancaster in England, where he was a team captain in his final two seasons.

If you have an item for Midstate Chatter contact Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.

Sports on Nashville TV

The five highest-rated sports events locally for the week ending April 4-10 in Nashville:

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Vandy basketball player Shelby Moats is in HBO series on LA Lakers