Gary has a specific approach to recruiting and coaching. He doesn't want the one-and-dones, he wants guys that commit to 4 years, he wants guys that want to go to Maryland. So despite going after the occasional Rudy Gay, Gary is okay with building teams from Smiths, Dixons, Strawberrys, and GVs.
Now that there's more and better talent spread around (the rise of the mid-majors anyone?), its riskier to build winners rather than recruit them, and leads to mediocrity when all the cogs don't fit together perfectly.
GMA tagged the other part of this puzzle earlier: when Gary lost Hahn, then Patsos and Dickerson, then Lonergan, he lost the guys that could swallow their pride and deal with the street agents, packages, AAU power mongers, wild player expectations... the guys with whom Gary does not want to deal. In addition to the preceding, from what I understand, Gary does not bend recruiting rules. He may overlook grad rates and behavior lapses, but he loses some ground by being an above board recruiter.
I am encouraged that he's gotten out lately to bring in some inside talent. Not sure who's gonna coach Padgett and Williams, since Gary doesn't have a big man coach, but at least they're here (for now :)).
As far as the negativity goes, I have to share the frustration. Who doesn't want MD to get back to top 30 consistency, make the dance most years, and routinely finish in the top 4 of the ACC? They're not that far away, but Gary can't keep 'almost' getting there.