Tough Love: MacArthur assistants give back to Decatur

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Tarise Bryson (left) and Arthur Young join Mike Wilder on the MacArthur bench. All three played at the college level after high school careers in Macon County. Tarise Bryson (left) and Arthur Young join Mike Wilder on the MacArthur bench. All three played at the college level after high school careers in Macon County.

DECATUR -- After a scorching-hot eight-game win streak, MacArthur head coach Ron Ingram is quick to deflect praise.

He'd rather talk about his three assistant coaches: Tarise Bryson, Mike Wilder and Arthur Young.

Not only are all three former college basketball players, but all three are Decatur born and bred. That lends them an extra degree of credibility when dealing with the kids, and the result is an uncommon level of mentorship between player and coach.

"Coming in, he was like my dad of the gym," senior guard Amir Brummett said of Bryson. The two have a very real bond and openly share about their moments of friction as well as moments of thriving.

"Always on me, always pushing me, arguing with each other," Brummett said. "That's kind of our relationship, a love-hate relationship, him just wanting me to get better and me just being young, being a knucklehead."

Arthur Young played at MacMurray after a high school career featuring three Macon County stops. Freshman head coach Mike Wilder turned a standout career at Stephen Decatur into a spot on the team at Division-I Louisiana Tech. His backcourt mate Bryson went on to have one of the all-time great careers at Illinois State, winning 2001 Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year and getting inducted into the school's Hall of Fame.

Bryson, like his two other assistant, could have pursued a coaching career at the college level or moved elsewhere. But he chose to invest his time and energy into helping the next generation of Decatur youngsters.

"Tough love," Bryson said. "I mean a lot of these kids sometimes, man, they can't stand me, but at the end of the day we go get something to eat, talk about it, laugh about it."

Whatever the trio is doing, it's working: The Generals are 15-7 and haven't lost a game since January 6th against 4A Bloomington, which is currently ranked No. 8 in the state.

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