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More information about Survivor 12: Panama - Exile Island contestant...
Aras Baskauskas
24, Santa Monica, CA
Yoga instructor/ ex-basketball player, MBA student
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Aras Baskauskas
Austin Carty
Bobby Mason
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Cirie Fields
Courtney Marit
Dan Barry
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Contestant-related press and rumors
Date, source
January 26, 2006
Click here to watch the full 45-min video at CBS2 Chicago
January 26, 2006: CBSNews video of a pre-game press roundtable discussion about Aras, led by Jeff Probst, with Mara Reinstein (US Weekly), Paul Adler (TV Guide channel), Shawna Malcom (TV Guide), Dalton Ross (EW), Jarett Wieselman (In Touch). Transcript:

arasJeff Probst: Okay, then we have uh, Aras, the uh, yoga instructor.
Aras (pre-game interview): My name is Aras, I'm 24, I'm from Santa Monica, California. I'm a yoga instructor.
Shawna Malcom: I couldn't quite figure him out. He came in, and, and seemed very angry about something, but I couldn't quite get to what was going on. And he just sort of seemed like, 'Okay, I'm here....'
Jeff Probst: Probably when we told him what he had to wear, what he couldn't bring.
Shawna Malcom: What did he want to wear?
Jeff Probst: No, I, I don't know. Usually what irritates these people is, all this game about to happen. It's gonna kick your ass for 39 days, and we come in and say 'Eh, not the red shirt, how about the green one?' 'But I, I look good in red. I mean, this is cut for my...'. You know, it's this huge deal about what they're gonna wear.
Paul Adler: I didn't get Aras either. He kind of gave this whole diatribe about how, like, society is built around Gordon Gekko, 'Greed is good,' and how he wants to come in and play the game honorably. And he talked a lot about his yoga principles, and I, I just don't know what game he was talking about. Because I don't think it was Survivor.
Aras (pre-game interview): I'm in a state of flux. I'm learning to be a more loving, honest person. Um, battling the demons of competitiveness, and ladder climbing. You know, wanting to be successful monetarily, but also wanting spiritual growth, and sometimes those things don't come hand in hand.
Dalton Ross: There's always a point in Survivor where there's a line, and you have to decide if you're gonna cross it. And, and it, sometimes it depends on who's on the other side of that line, or where exactly that line is. And I'm not sure he's gonna be able to cross it, or cross it when he needs to cross it, and as, you know, decisively as he's gonna need to cross it.
Jeff Probst: I think Aras is gonna cross the line like that.
Dalton Ross: You think so?
Jeff Probst: Yeah, I don't buy it at all, this.... I think we've got a lot of people searching. They're transitioning in life, and this may be the, the portal. But I, I don't....
Jarett Wieselman: He said to me, he was like, 'You know, I'm 24, I'm young, I'm still figuring out who I am. And I think this is a great way to see who I am, and what I'm made of.' So I think, I agree with you completely. In a heartbeat, I think he would turn on anyone to advance himself in the game.
Vidcaps - click thumbnails to expand
aras - pre-game interview aras in camp aras - pre-game interview

Vidcaps - click thumbnails to expand
aras, viveros - pre-ep1 ic aras chops
aras aras
nick, aras in camp aras, austin
January 22, 2006: Transcript of Aras-specific footage from the TV Guide Channel " Survivor: Panama - Exile Island Preview" (featuring pre-game contestant interviews and Jeff Probst comments from circa Ep1):

"Jeff Probst:
As much as I like the older women, on the, at the other end of the spectrum, I have big questions about the younger guys.
Danni Boatwright:
24-year-old yoga instructor Aras is the youngest player in Panama, and he's a bit nervous about his earthy profession getting in the way of the million-dollar goal.
Aras (pre-game interview): The yoga tradition teaches like non-greediness, and non-lying, and all those things, so it's gonna be a real challenge for me to apply some of those yoga principles to this game, where it rewards, truly I think, Gordon Gekkos of the world.
Jeff Probst: I'm not sure what he's bringing. He's bringing a lot of talk. Do you know how to play Survivor? We'll find out. That's all I got on Aras."

January 9, 2006: Officially revealed as a contestant on Survivor: Panama - Exile Island on the Early Show.
Early Show vidcaps - click thumbnails to expand
aras, challenge 1? aras chops yoga boy

Aras's bio, from the CBS Survivor: Panama site:
Aras Baskauskas completed his undergraduate program in three years and earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of California, Irvine. In 2003, he was named one of UC Irvine's "Most Eligible Bachelors" in the student newspaper.

Baskauskas continued his education at UC Irvine and graduated from the Graduate School of Management, where he received his Masters in Business Administration. He is proudest of being the only student to have played NCAA Men's Division One basketball on scholarship while in the MBA program.

Baskauskas is a former professional basketball player, having played briefly overseas in Lithuania. After leaving the court, Aras moved to Capetown, South Africa, where he opened up a donation-based yoga studio. He currently works as a yoga instructor in Santa Monica, California. His hobbies include meditation, golf and surfing. He describes himself as outgoing, compassionate and genuine.

Baskauskas is currently single and living in Santa Monica, California. His birth date is September 26, 1981.

Date, source
December 20, 2005
biancaxxx at Sucks
December 20, 2005: Aras is identified as a potential Survivor: Panama - Exile Island contestant by biancaxxx at Survivor Sucks. Was apparently missing during the time of filming, and at 6'4", could be the tall skinny guy mentioned by ChillOne.
June 20, 2004 : Aras graduates from the UCI Graduate School of Management, receiving his M.B.A. (Source: UCI GSM alumni news).
Date, source
Spring, 2004
David Lim for invigorate
Spring, 2004: Lengthy biographical article in invigorate, the UC Irvine Graduate School of Management's news magazine (note: PDF file). Some of the excerpts below, particularly his thoughts on basketball leadership and business, seem to apply to Survivor as well:

"Youthful invigoration from a unique MBA student
aras at uci
Photo credit: invigorate
    An educational journey for Aras Baskauskas will end soon. It will conclude at the UC Irvine Bren Athletic Center, on a graduation platform, with a symbolic piece of paper in hand - telling him that he has earned his MBA.
    His life has been one of diverging opportunities. Pivotal decisions and moments seem to be commonplace for Baskauskas. And Baskauskas understands the art of pivoting quite well. This year, he graduates as the only student to have played NCAA Men's Division I basketball throughout his entire MBA career.
    'I got calls from Yale, Columbia, Montana, Loyola Marymount, Gonzaga,' he said. 'Harvard also called, and I had a decision to make. The Ivy League schools don't give athletic scholarships, and I didn't want to be staring down the road at a $120,000 debt. The others did, but I wanted a great education. That's why I chose UC Irvine.'
    On the eve of graduation, he is facing two more diverging opportunities: professional basketball in Europe with the hopes of making the Lithuanian Olympic Basketball team (because of his dual citizenship), and in the off season, back in Southern California, working at a real estate development firm.
... The hackneyed reference of the basketball point guard as 'floor general,' 'catalyst,' 'team leader,' 'coach on the floor,' litters sport stories ad nauseam. But Baskauskas offers a legitimate explanation of why it is true.
   'If a starter isn't playing so well, it's up to you to take him out to lunch, to see what is going on. You have to try to understand how he looks at things, what bothers him, what he needs. That's how you start understanding how to motivate him and also you start building trust. And that's what's really important. So when you are on the court, and you don't pass him the ball, he'll trust that you are making a good decision and that you aren't passing him the ball out of selfishness,' he said.
    Baskauskas earned an undergraduate degree in philosophy, but decided to pursue business. He was able to play basketball while attending GSM because he completed his bachelor's degree in three years and also had two years of NCAA eligibility left, since he sat out his first year.
   'I was intrigued at how people in business thought and behaved, it is truly in the opposite end of how people thought about things in philosophy,' he said. 'Social consciousness is important to me, but before you can change anything, you have to understand how things work. This country is based on business.' ... 'I sat out my first year. But I also thought about what would get me the most playing time. The team really didn't have a defensive stopper at the point guard position. So, I created my own niche. Otherwise, I would have sat on the bench the entire game,' Baskauskas said. 'I think in business, there are a lot of similarities. You need to be able to communicate and motivate. In basketball, as a point guard, the most important thing is communication.'
Date, source
November 17, 2003
Taraneh Arhamsadr and Jillianne Salaver for the UC Irvine New University
November 17, 2003 : Aras is listed along with four other, er, "hopefuls," as one of UC Irvine's "Most Eligible Bachelors" in the UC Irvine student newspaper. Many of his answers resemble a Survivor questionnaire, for what it's worth:

Aras Baskauskas defines the term “well-rounded.” As a fifth-year student, he is already a student in the Graduate School of Management. Baskauskas is also the point guard of the UCI Basketball team.

aras at uci
Photo credit: UCI New University
New U.: How do you manage to do so much in so little time?
Baskauskas: You have to sacrifice something. I don’t get to get to party and don’t have much free time as other college students. You manage your time and multi-task. I actually like having less time, it keeps me on track.
New U.: What have you learned through your involvement with the basketball team through the years?
Baskauskas: Basketball has taught me tons of things. You learn how to work hard. I’ve had awesome experiences and memories I will cherish for the rest of my life. I have teammates that are my best friends and we live together.
New U.: What comes after UCI?
Baskauskas: I’d like to play basketball professionally in Europe and then the sky’s the limit. With my business degree, I’d go into marketing.
New U.: How would you describe your approach with women?
Baskauskas: I try to be straightforward and honest. I really appreciate those qualities in women, so I think I should do the same back."
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