KANSAS CITY - It finally happened during Landen Lucas' freshman year in high school.
He took his dad in a game of one-on-one, 21-14. Took him to school by using all of the tricks of the trade his father Richard Lucas, a former star at Oregon from 1987 through 1991, has passed on to him.
"It was a dark day," the 6-foot-6 Richard Lucas said outside of the Westin Hotel where he was staying in Kansas City.
Landen remembers it differently. It's more of a fond memory for him, especially given that his dad never took it easy on him even as a young child.
"I wanted him to earn it," Richard said.
Landen earned it and then some.
"A couple of years after that, we played again - I was out of shape, that's my excuse - but I couldn't even get a shot off," Richard Lucas, 47, said. "He was so much more athletic and long and stronger."
The 6-10 Landen, who averages 7.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game while shooting 64 percent, has dominated the former Duck center ever since. On Saturday in the Elite Eight, he will try to do the same against the current Ducks in a game that will tug at the heart strings for both.
Both Landen and his father, of course, absolutely want No. 1 Kansas (31-4) to be victorious. But that doesn't mean there won't be some strong emotions pulling them the other way, as well.
"It's a very weird thing for me," Landen said Friday at the Sprint Center. "Especially because just growing up, I always watched Oregon. Loved Oregon because of my parents and what dad was able to do there...It's a connection that was cool and all, but the second I came to Kansas it was all about Kansas, and now them being the opponent, I'm just excited about it and excited to go out and play."
--- Growing up a duckling
Landen's childhood was painted green and yellow from an early age. His father's love for Oregon permeated throughout the house, shaping his son's admiration for the Ducks.
"Growing up I just wanted to be like him," Landen Lucas said. "I would always watch the tapes that he had...He has his highlight tape he will show me every now and then when he wants to brag a little bit. But it is fun to watch him and see what he did in college."
Richard Lucas, who appears as a panelist on CSN's Talkin' Ducks, did the dirty work for the Ducks. Rebounding. Blocking shots. Hustle plays.
"I realized very quickly that if I rebounded the basketball the coaches had a tough time not playing me," Lucas said. "Then the points came."
He passed on that work ethic to Landen. When Landen played youth games as young as age 7, his father would be there barking at him to box out and rebound.
"He was able to do that for his team, and told me that if I'm able to do that at the highest level I can help any team out," Landen said. "And having a great team like we have we do with great players, I just need to do my job, the small things and that's enough for us to win."
--- Setting his own path
Lucas had an interesting high school career, starting out at Sunset for two seasons before transferring to famed Findley Prep in Henderson, Nev., (essentially a basketball factory) only to return to the Beaverton area to play at Westview, a rival of Sunset's.
That move brought out the haters from Sunset, but that didn't impact Lucas, who had his sights set on going big time.
Landen Lucas might have followed in his father's footsteps had the Ducks in 2012 been as good as they are now. But back then, Landen viewed Oregon under coach Dana Altman as a fledgling program that relied too heavily on transfers.
"I wasn't sure what direction it was heading," Landen said before pointing out that UO appears to be a lot different now, a testament, he stated, to Altman's vision.
Richard Lucas hoped his son would end up at Oregon but ultimately determined that the Ducks' style of play didn't involve tossing the ball into the big man often enough to make it the right fit for Landen.
"We realized pretty quickly that the style of play at the time they were doing was a little bit different than what we were looking for," Richard Lucas said.
Landen's career at Kansas got off to a rocky start. He redshirted as a freshman and barely played the following season.
Richard Lucas recalled when Kansas coach Bill Self told him he wanted to trade Landen as an 18-year-old for Landen as a 23-year-old fifth-year senior who was going to play a lot.
"It was hard to talk to Landen about that because kids want to play," Richard Lucas said.
Landen resisted at first but soon recognized the value in redshirting especially when he likely wouldn't have played anyway, and he could focus on developing his game and getting off to a good start academically.
Altman remembers recruiting Lucas and hoping he would indeed want to go where his father had starred. Even though that didn't work out, Altman said he's happy for Lucas and how he has developed his game since redshirting.
"It also shows his perseverance, you know, it didn't start out well for him, the redshirt and he didn't get to play much the first couple of years," Altman said. "But he stayed with it and, you know, it speaks to his character."
Altman pointed out that a lot of young players look to transfer when they don't become instant starts, let alone are asked to redshirt.
"We're really happy for him, great guy, great family," Altman said. "His dad is a great guy. Really happy for him. I hope he doesn't play well tomorrow, but he's had a heck of a career."
Self said he recruited Landen with the idea of him being a good “program guy.” Instead, he got much more.
“All he did was come in and start for three years, basically, and has become probably as an important part of our program as anybody we've had,” Self said. “You hate to look at a team over the last three years and say, why would you be without him and the answer would be not very good.”
Before each game Richard will give Landed a pep talk and notes on what to watch for based on having watched the opponent. After games they would debrief to go over what happens.
"He is so smart that that's less and less," Richard Lucas said. "He knows what he did wrong and what he can do better."
Landen said he takes his father’s advice to heart.
"I try to take his advice and listen to him, good or bad because I know that he knows what he is talking about," Landen said.
Clearly Richard Lucas’ schooling of his son paid off.
“He's been a real pleasure to coach, and he's very, very bright.” Self said. “He gets it. He gets the big picture. Certainly he has grown so much since he's been here.”
--- The chase for 18 rebounds and beyond.
Richard’s career-high 18 rebounds against Stanford in 1991 remains a point of contention between father and son. He elder Lucas has held that number over Landen his entire college career, challenging him to tie or beat it.
Landen did just that. Sort of.
Landen Lucas, who had 12 rebounds once as a redshirt sophomore, 16 in a game as a redshirt junior and 17 earlier this season, finally grabbed 18 on Feb. 24 during a 92-89 win over Iowa State.
However, that win came in overtime. The key word being "overtime."
"Doesn't count, sorry!" Richard Lucas said. "Sorry. I mean, come on."
The elder Lucas points out that Landen got three of his 18 rebounds in overtime. So, according to dad, he still holds the family record.
When asked about it, Landen just shook his head.
"He's not counting that," he said with a laugh. "I've got to get to at least 18 or more so I can shut him up so he won't talk about it anymore."
When told of that declaration, Richard just laughed.
"You know what, he's been trying for years," he said. "He's. Been. Trying. For. Years. To do that. So, we'll see."
--- Beating Oregon.
The goal is to win on Saturday. Elation would follow. A twinge of pain for both Lucas men would still exist.
“Landen and I talked briefly last night about the situation,” Self said. “He's a big fan of the Ducks not only because he grew up in Portland but because his father played there and was a good player there. So there's pride there about that with his family.”
But that pride factor has shifted. Dad will be wearing Kansas gear. But he admits that he won’t be able to view Oregon as a faceless opponent. Meanwhile, Landen has no choice.
“He told me last night, he said, ‘Coach, I've seen 'em play at least 15 times this year,’” Self said. “Which he wouldn't be watching any other teams from the Pac-12 play that amount of time unless there was a vested interest with his father. We'll talk about it. We'll talk about it, but he has a lot of respect for back home.”
He has more respect for his goals. The team’s goals. What is at stake. Oregon will have other chances to reach the Final Four. This is Landen’s final shot. And the Ducks, albeit a program he and his father love, stands in the way.
"This is what I stuck it out for,” he said, “and really what motived me earlier in my career."