1) It's not that cheap. Pulling jersey, being grabby, etc. are all "in-between" type of plays. It's physical play that isn't necessarily a foul. Remember, basketball IS a physical sport. Not every time players come in physical contact with each other it's a foul.
2) Suck it up, no excuses. The fact that it's frustrating you means you aren't being mentally tough enough. Whining to everyone on the court will be the worst course of action. Be grabby back, be physical back, use your body to shield their aggression or be timely with your movement to work against them.
3) Never count on the refs to bail you out, you're going to have to use your own savviness, scrappiness, skill, and toughness. That's a given. But if your opponent is clearly going over the top and fouling you every play, just tell the ref to keep an eye on it. If it's a pickup game with no refs, call a foul if it's OVERT physical contact, or be super physical back.
4) Retaliate. Be physical back, when they put their arm on you, slap it!
5) If you're taller than average, you need to use that inherent advantage. Taller than average + FEROCIOUS is a great combo. Your mental approach on the court should be like someone with Napoleon-syndrome with everything to prove. Like a small chihuahua. Tall guy with the heart of a chihuahua? That will be effective. I can't tell you how many tall guys I've played vs who underachieved because they were too frail. If they just knew how to use their frame and be MEAN on the court, they would be amazing. Keep playing 'cause you'll learn the ropes by constantly competing.
- Basketball isn't an easy sport. It takes a great mixture of physical and mental toughness, finesse, athleticism, skill, and heart. Enjoy!