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Florida poised for big things next season with loaded recruiting class

Mike White will bring in a top-10 class that has two ESPN 100 prospects in the frontcourt. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our recruit and return series with the Florida Gators, whose season ended Sunday with a loss to South Carolina in the Elite Eight. Here is a look at what the 2017-18 season could hold:

Possible 2017-18 starting five:

G: Chris Chiozza

G: KeVaughn Allen

F: Devin Robinson

F: Kevarrius Hayes

C: John Egbunu

Who is lost: Kasey Hill entered the program when Billy Donovan was at the helm. Hill was a five-star point guard who came in as part of a highly touted duo with Chris Walker. Although Walker didn’t pan out, Hill improved as his career progressed. He was one of the fastest players in the country with the ball in his hands and could get to the rim at will. Former Charleston graduate transfer Canyon Barry, a big wing scorer who could shoot from the perimeter, was exactly what Mike White needed this past season. Barry took about half the shots in 2016-17 that he did at Charleston, but he fit perfectly. Justin Leon was a nice weapon due to his size and ability to make shots from 3, and he backed up the frontcourt players.

Who is added: Despite losing top-35 prospect Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to Kentucky, Florida is bringing in the No. 10 recruiting class in the country, filled with four four-star prospects. The frontcourt will be bolstered by ESPN 100 prospects Isaiah Stokes and Chase Johnson. Stokes, the younger brother of former Tennessee star Jarnell, is a big and strong body who can score in the low post but is also more skilled than his size would indicate. He can shoot it too. Johnson is a good offensive player who has toughness and will score at the rim, from the perimeter or off the dribble. On the perimeter, ESPN 100 DeAundre Ballard comes from Atlanta and has great length. He can score in the half court but is also athletic and can play in transition. Brewster Academy (New Hampshire) product Michael Okauru rounds out the class. Two players sat out this past season as well: Virginia Tech transfer Jalen Hudson and forward Dontay Bassett. Hudson averaged 8.0 points as a sophomore for the Hokies and will push for a starting job, while Bassett missed the entire season with a stress fracture in his right foot.

What it means for next season: White had one of the best teams in the country this past season, and most of those pieces return. Former ESPN 100 prospect KeVaughn Allen led the team in scoring, and he’ll be back. He shot 40 percent from 3-point range but can handle the ball and also slash to the basket. Backcourt partner Chris Chiozza is quick with the ball in his hands and will step in seamlessly for Hill. Chiozza is a better shooter too. Devin Robinson hit a career high in points and rebounds as a junior, and it still feels like he’s just scratching the surface of his potential. Down low, former South Florida transfer John Egbunu was an excellent defensive presence until he got injured in February. He is expected back healthy next season -- but White got great minutes out of sophomore Kevarrius Hayes while Egbunu was sidelined. Redshirt freshman Keith Stone also played well late in the season.

Trending: Up. White did one of the best coaching jobs of anyone in 2016-17, so how does he follow that? A top-10 recruiting class joining a veteran rotation that won 25-plus games usually results in a good season. Some of the doubts about the post-Billy Donovan era are dissipating.