Dylan Engler is determined to get his name out there.
Engler, Oswego's 6-foot-5 senior guard, has led the Panthers to a big bounce-back season this year. Always a sweet shooter, he's worked to grow into a well-rounded player.
He's found his conduit to the college level.
Engler on Saturday announced his commitment to Link Year Prep, a Christian academy out of Branson, Mo. He will spend next year at Link Prep, the 2017 Elite Division national champions, and reclassify as a Class of 2020 guard.
"I made the decision that I think will be the best for me basketball-wise," Engler said. "A lot of guys there are getting the looks they like, and I feel I'll get the looks I want. It's a huge opportunity to grow my basketball body and get much bigger and stronger."
Engler already has taken steps in that direction.
Entering this weekend's action he was leading Oswego (15-9) in scoring at 14.8 points per game, rebounding (5.9) and assists (2.2), while shooting 43 percent from the field. He's been getting looks from several Great Lakes Valley Conference schools, but none had pulled the trigger.
"I was kind of getting frustrated; I felt like I deserved more looks and more offers," Engler said. "I felt like it was a good stop, looking at prep schools and stuff."
Engler visited Link Prep over winter break, and quickly made a connection with head coach Adam Donyes and the team. Link Prep's basketball program made national headlines in November when one of its players, Kalin Bennett, became the first student-athlete with autism to sign to play a team sport at the Division I level, with Kent State.
"Their coach looked at some of my film and invited me down there," Engler said. "We went down there, I really liked them and he liked me."
Engler will join a strong recent pipeline from the Chicago area to Link Prep.
Chase Adams, from Marian Catholic, and Dannie Smith, from defending Class 2A state champion Orr, are on the Link Prep roster.
"They have some twins from California that are pretty legit, a big man from Arizona," Engler said. "They do a great job of getting their name across the country. They play NCAA opponents, NAIA, JV, junior colleges, they get their name out. It's a good place for me. I'll be able to grow physically. I want to be the best player that I can possibly be."
Link Prep was attracted to Engler's shooting ability – but, above all, to his work ethic.
"There was another 6-3, 6-4 kid down there that could really shoot the ball," Engler said. "I told them straight up I would put in just as much work. I'm not going to be the biggest or strongest guy there, but I know for sure I can bring some hard work and energy and intensity to the team."