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Three elite recruits could make Kansas a preseason No. 1 candidate

We continue our recruit and return series with the Kansas Jayhawks, whose season ended Saturday in the national semifinals against Villanova. A look at what the 2018-19 season could hold:

Possible 2018-19 starting five

G: Devon Dotson

G: Marcus Garrett

G: Quentin Grimes

F: Dedric Lawson

C: Udoka Azubuike

Who is lost: Big 12 Player of the Year senior Devonte' Graham is out of eligibility after starting the past three seasons for the Jayhawks. Backcourt mate and Ukrainian sharpshooter Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk also is graduating. The sense at Kansas is that junior guard Lagerald Vick and sophomore swingman Malik Newman also will be gone. If that happens, the Jayhawks could be looking to replace four starters -- and that’s assuming Azubuike elects to come back.

Who is added: Despite so much potential roster turnover, the Jayhawks are going to be just fine next season. Brothers K.J. and Dedric Lawson will be eligible after transferring in from Memphis last year. Dedric Lawson is a former McDonald’s All-American who averaged 19.2 points and 9.9 rebounds in his final season at Memphis. K.J., no slouch either, averaged 12.3 points and 8.1 rebounds. Beyond that, the Jayhawks have three more McDonald’s All-Americans on the way in Dotson, Grimes and big man David McCormack. All three will push to start immediately. Kansas still is in on the nation’s top shooting guard, Romeo Langford, who is also considering Indiana and Vanderbilt.

What it means for next season: The Jayhawks could say goodbye to the Big 12 Player of the Year and three other starters and potentially be even better next season. That’s how talented this recruiting class is and how good the Lawson brothers are. The Jayhawks figure to be incredibly deep, too, as current rotation pieces Silvio De Sousa and Mitch Lightfoot will have to battle the newcomers just to stay on the court.

Trending: Up. Kansas should be the favorite to repeat once again in the Big 12. The Jayhawks might even be the preseason No. 1 team on some ballots. Mark it down as a legit national title contender.