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Insider

Texas Tech will lose production, but good times should be ahead in Lubbock

We continue our recruit and return series with the Texas Tech Red Raiders, whose season ended with a loss in the Elite Eight. A look at what the 2018-19 season could hold:

Possible 2018-19 starting five:

G Zhaire Smith

G Jarrett Culver

G Niem Stevenson

F Khavon Moore

C Norense Odiase

Who is lost: The Red Raiders have a lot of production to replace after losing four key seniors, headlined by leading scorer Keenan Evans. Justin Gray and Zach Smith also were starters, though the team had to adjust without Smith for 13 games in 2017-18 because of an injury. Tommy Hamilton was a consistent contributor off the bench.

Who is added: ESPN 100 small forward Moore headlines Texas Tech's recruiting class and can sign on April 11, during the spring signing period. The 6-foot-8, 185-pound Moore is long, athletic and can play above the rim. The Red Raiders signed two prospects in the early period: four-star guard Kyler Edwards from Findlay Prep and junior college guard Deshawn Corprew. C.J. Roberts, a transfer guard from Missouri, also is arriving but won't be eligible until conference play begins.

What it means for next season: Losing Evans is tough, but getting Zhaire Smith back -- who already is making noise as a potential draft prospect but seems likely to stay -- will be big. The combination of Smith -- an all-conference newcomer and defensive-team pick -- Jarrett Culver and Niem Stevenson in the backcourt should keep the Red Raiders productive, as they were three of the team's top four scorers in 2017-18.

Trending: Up. The Red Raiders were one of the best stories of the 2017-18 season, predicted to finish seventh in the Big 12 but instead challenging Kansas for the conference crown before ultimately finishing second in the standings. Chris Beard signed a six-year contract extension in March to at least temporarily fend off potential suitors, and the job he did should instill confidence that more good times are ahead in Lubbock.