How DeAndre Ayton got to No. 1

The headlines were what caught everyone’s attention.

"North Carolina loses exhibition game in Bahamas"

"Tar Heels shocked"

Some of the stories from last August included a nominal one-line reference to the dominant performance by Providence Storm big man DeAndre Ayton. Other stories didn’t even mention it. In the long run, neither North Carolina’s loss in a 2014 exhibition game nor Ayton’s outing will mean much. But looking back, it might have been the signature moment for the nation’s top-ranked 2017 prospect.

And it almost didn’t happen.