CHAMPAIGN — Geoff Alexander has joined Brad Underwood's basketball staff at Illinois as assistant to the head coach.

The Lincoln native returns to Illinois after spending the last five seasons as an assistant at Evansville, helping Marty Simmons lead the Purple Aces to three 20-win seasons.

Alexander's 17-year coaching career got its start with a two-year stint as a graduate assistant at Western Illinois from 2000-02 while Underwood was a Leathernecks assistant. He later spent three years as one of Underwood's aides at Daytona State (formerly Daytona Beach Community College).

“We’re excited to have Geoff joining the Illinois basketball program,” Underwood said in a Friday news release announcing the hiring. “He and I have a long history together dating back to our days at Western Illinois and Daytona Beach. He has great familiarity with me and our system, and being from Lincoln and playing and recruiting this state, he has connections with coaches and programs throughout Illinois.

“Most importantly, Geoff is a great basketball mind. He spent the last five years at Evansville with Marty Simmons, who is a tremendous offensive basketball coach. So I’m excited to get to explore some of the things he picked up during his time there. Geoff is a student of the game at all levels, including the NBA, and will push the envelope in terms of challenging our staff with fresh ideas and perspective.”

Alexander is a 1995 graduate of Lincoln High School where he played for his father Neil Alexander, the school's winningest coach with 621 victories through 27 seasons and counting. Geoff Alexander ranks among the Railsplitters' top 10 in career points, rebounds and assists. He and his brother Gregg were inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2012, eight years after their father's induction.

Geoff Alexander played two seasons at WIU after starting his college career at Southeastern Community College in Iowa.

In 2006, Alexander began a five-year run as an assistant at Idaho State, where he served as the Bengals' recruiting coordinator. He spent the 2011-12 season as an assistant at Eastern Illinois before moving on to Evansville.