Chism gets down and dirty

Wayne Chism is not a dirty player … as a rule. When the opponent resorts to rough-house tactics, however, Tennessee's 6-9, 242-pound sophomore forward says he's willing to reciprocate.

He offers Wednesday night's 93-71 defeat of the Arkansas Razorbacks as Exhibit A. He played just 20 minutes due to foul trouble.

"Several times they held me, so I held them," Chism said. "They played dirty, I played dirty, so my guards could come and get the ball."

The Bolivar native said he's getting grabbed so much this year that he has begun retaliating in the only way he knows how.

"Every time I box out they try to hold me," he said. "If they hold me, they got me, but I'm going to hold you, too."

The knock on Wayne Chism throughout his college career has been that he plays "soft" and doesn't use his size to full advantage. That perception may be subject to change, however.

Although he finished with almost as many fouls (4) as rebounds (5) Wednesday night, Chism's rugged box-outs enabled Tennessee to win the backboard battle 38-36 against the much taller Arkansas front line. He seems to be growing more physical and more aggressive in recent weeks.

"Yeah, and I'm surprised I'm getting away with a lot of it," he said. "I'm very surprised. My freshman year it was like a foul every time."

Although he spent a good portion of Wednesday's game in foul trouble, Chism believes he is more intelligent and more subtle in the way he uses his heft these days.

"I'm not putting the foul out there where they (officials) can see it," he said. "I'm glad they're letting me play for the time I'm out there."

Perhaps SEC officials are cutting Chism some slack because he has shown he will not resort to cheap shots and posturing. It could be he's getting to play more physically this year because he has earned their respect.

"I'm TRYING to earn some respect," he said. "It looks like I'm gaining a little bit but not a whole lot."

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