GENERATION next could quickly become generation now for the Newcastle Hunters thanks to Kouat Noi, Jacob Rauch and Monyjath Makuer.

The trio have gained selection in the NSW Country under-18 side for the Australian championships in Brisbane from April 20-27.

At the tournament they will be pushing their claims for the Australian under-19 side for 2014. But before then the rising stars will play major roles in Newcastle’s (under-22) side for the Waratah Youth League of the Australian Basketball Association season which starts this weekend.

Newcastle Basketball development manager Rohan Stevenson believes they have the talent to feature in the men’s ABA side as well this year.

‘‘At some stage this year we will probably look at blooding all three of them and maybe [under-16s player] Myles Cherry,’’ Stevenson said.

‘‘The policy this year is if you’re good enough, you’re old enough, especially with the frame of these guys.’’

Noi, a 196-centimetre forward, was in 15-man Australian under-17 squad last year but do not make the final cut to 10 for the Pacific Youth tournament in Victoria.

Rauch, a guard, was in the under-16 NSW Country team last year and has been a Hunters representative since under 12s.

Makuer, 200cm centre, was considered a strong chance of making the under-18 side last year but knee problems hampered his progress.

Cherry, a 200cm forward, made the under-16 NSW Country side last year and is almost certain to be in the squad again when the national titles are held in Adelaide in July.

He is in the selection training squad which will hold their final camp this weekend in Terrigal.

Maitland’s Hugh Glasson and Daniel Millburn and Newcastle’s Max Honeyands and Joel Rauch are also in the extended squad. Maitland’s Victoria Unicomb has been selected in the women’s under-18 NSW Country side. Newcastle’s Laura Dick was named as a reserve.

In the under-16 division, Cassidy McLean, Lara McSpadden and Hannah Southwell from Newcastle and Maddison Nowland, Shakera Reilly, Sophie Richards and Rachel Williams from Maitland will vie for NSW Country selection at a final camp this weekend at Maitland.

EAGER: From left to right, Kouat Noi, Jacob Rauch and Monyjath Makuer. Picture: Dean Osland